Smartphones have drastically changed over the years in how they are used for both personal and business environments. In the past, phones were mainly just used for personal calls and as a device for communication but in today’s world, technology has evolved the cell phone into an innovative device in which is used for managing every aspect of individuals lives that includes both personal and business.
With this evolution, employers are now asking and having to make decisions as to whether smartphones should be allowed to be kept in the workplace and if so, whether it be to ban or to allow usage, will their decision impact on productivity. Many employers too are following the increasing trend of supplying cell phones and paying for their monthly payments as some devices can actually be highly beneficial for employees. This is because of their numerous capabilities including downloadable business apps, the Samsung Galaxy S7 from T-Mobile for example is a great business phone as it also provides high battery life and memory, making it more efficient when away from the office.
So the question is no longer whether an employer should allow for smartphones to be used in the workplace but rather how can a company teach employees to be mindful of their time and productivity and how to be respectful to those around them. Employers need to have policies written, distributed as part of an employee handbook, and then upper management must lead by example. These three steps must be established in order to create an atmosphere that is conducive to having employees that remain productive.
Many rules or policies can be enforced when an employee brings their smartphone to work but some basic ones below will help provide a bit of basic guidance. Policies must be developed and specify how to use a smartphone when taking phone calls, email, and texting.
Keep the ringtones and notifications to silent mode.
No matter the size of the company and the role of the employee, hearing continuous ringtones and notifications throughout the day is annoying and distracting to those in the near vicinity. If the employee has a private office or often works outside the office, keeping the sound on is okay but if employees work closely to one another, sit in a cubicle farm or in an open-concept office, the volume must be turned to silent to avoid unnecessary distractions.
Keep personal phone calls personal.
If there is a need to take a personal phone call at work, be mindful of others in the area. No one wants to hear about an employee’s weekend or where dinner plans are for that evening. If a call must be taken, the employee should shut the door to the office or walk to an area that is quiet and again, ssure they don’t cause a distraction to others.
Employees should turn smartphones off or not bring a phone into a meeting room when possible. If meeting with a client, don’t answer the phone if it should ring because it could potentially affect your business and have you labeled as un-professional.
If a cell phone number is readily given out by an employee clients and work-related personnel, then the employee is expected to answer the phone when it rings. Many times with a personal phone, a call is not answered because a phone number is not recognized but when used for work purposes, missing a client call could be costly.