Mobile Phones at Work
Employees can be expected to give their undivided attention to the work you pay them to perform, however mobile phones have become an extension of people’s lives, they become an unwanted distraction and have a negative impact on productivity. When employees are spending too much time on their device, it’s likely they’re wasting their working hours and creating other issues, such as underperforming and encouraging others to use their phones during work too.
Therefore, whilst you can limit or even prohibit use of mobile phones during work hours, consider taking a proactive approach when considering if and what you will permit in relation to mobile phone usage during working hours and in the workplace environment. As always, the best approach is to have a clear policy!
You may wish to restrict the use mobile phones to breaktime, or to deal with an emergency that cannot wait until the end of the day.
Having mobile phones on silent to minimise disruption and reduce the noise from mobile phones that could be affecting other colleagues’ concentration.
You should also think about any health and safety considerations. Where you have employees who are operating heavy machinery or moving stock, you should not allow them to use their phone as this could lead to serious accidents and injuries.
Employees in customer-facing roles, should turn their phones off at work to avoid complaints from customers. Nobody wants to be ignored by someone who is on their mobile phone.
Make sure you apply the policy in a fair and consistent way to avoid employee concerns, a negative impact on team morale. If you take different action for the same offence, it is likely that an Employment Tribunal would find this unfair and potentially discriminatory.
If you have any concerns about this subject or general advice, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss.