“My employees spend too much time on their personal cell phones during work hours. What can I do to get them to focus on their work instead?”

My HR survival tip

It seems everyone has a smart phone today and employees bringing them to work has been a challenge to business owners. Even though a cell phone is an employee’s personal property, you can control what happens at work.  

I’ve worked with several clients to help control the use of cell phones. Create a policy that will provide the solution you want. How far you push it depends on what issues you’ve had. Keep in mind that you can start light and get a little tougher if the problem isn’t resolved. No matter which of the following ideas you like, make sure your policy reminds employees that they can always check their voicemails and emails while on rest and meal breaks. Some ideas include:

— Requiring employees to keep their cell phones muted and off their desk during work hours.

— Requiring employees to completely turn off their cell phones while working.

— Prohibiting employees from bringing their cell phones into the office.

People are so hooked on their cell phones, you’ll notice the panic in their eyes when you tell them to put away the phone. Don’t let an employee scare you when they say you don’t have control over their personal cell phone. You do have control over the workspace, conduct during work hours, and what is brought into your facility.

The other argument you’ll hear is that people need to be able to reach the employee in case of an emergency. The appropriate response is to remind them to give family members the company’s main number to call if there’s an emergency. Calling the company number worked in the pre-cell phone days and it still works.

It’s your business. It’s time to take control of how your employees spend their work hours.

What’s your opinion on employees and using cell phones in the workplace?

Post by CJ Westrick of HR Jungle.

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