In this digital age of ours, technology has created new sets of behaviors—specifically in the realm of mobile phone usage. The next time you are in a restaurant look around to see how many people are not interested in communicating and interacting with each other because they are so engrossed in their phones. People become very concerned once they realize that their battery is about to die, rather than enjoying their meal and present company.
In business, mobile phones are killing profits. Employees are spending too much time on their phones, either for their personal entertainment (playing games, using Facebook, etc.) , or because they are driven to distraction (responding to personal texts or emails).
Certain professions just aren’t conducive to constant phone usage. Waiters, airline pilots, or store managers simply can’t constantly check their phones while working. However, just because a profession is conducive to using a personal mobile phone (most desk jobs, for example), does not mean it isn’t having a negative impact on a person’s performance. When team members are on their personal mobile phones, they are not doing the one thing they need to do… their jobs!
If employees are entertaining themselves while at work, something is terribly wrong. Either their goals are not challenging enough, or they have simply developed a bad habit. We have all been guilty of “goofing off at work” at one time or another. However, as a habit, it must be stopped. But how?
We recently implemented a set of very simple guidelines for our clients:
1. If the mobile phone is not a tool that is directly related to work, then the phone should be turned on silent and put away with personal belongings.
2. If the mobile phone is used as business tool, then employees should be asked to use it only outside of meetings.
3. Turn off phones and disconnect while on vacation. Turning the phone off and disconnecting while on vacation may sound impossible, but getting your team to focus on work instead of their phones can begin by first getting them to focus on their leisure time away from work.
Simply regulating the use of mobile phones within your company can have a direct influence on your company’s results. Implementing these very simple guidelines within your company could increase productivity by more than 20 percent in just one week. Additionally, rumors and gossip in the organization will tend to decrease, employees will interact more with one anther, leading to more production and a better company culture.
I challenge you to implement these guidelines regarding mobile phone usage in your company. If they are strictly adhered to, in just one week you will notice team members concentrating more on what’s important. If a team member asks how a family member is going to be able to reach them in case of an emergency, simply remind them of the office number and how emergencies were communicate before mobile phones existed.
Read more about the author Rony Zagursky.