How To Combat Cell Phone Use At Work

In 1973, the first cell phone made its entrance. It was invented as a wireless device that made phone calls from anywhere. As time went on, the cell phone advanced to introduce SMS messages. Today the cell phone has advanced even further.

Cell phones most commonly referred to as smartphones today are much more than a communication tool. Now mobile phones are a GPS, a camera, a place to surf the internet, a way to access social media and much more.

The advancement in cell phones have changed our lives for the better, but they have also created a new form of addiction, nomophobia - a fear of being without your cell phone. You may be wondering how can a cell phone be addicting? Well, each time your cell phone alerts you to a notification, dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain gets released. When this happens, the dopamine is encouraging you to look at your phone to view the message or social media alert, creating an addiction to your cell phone.

With cell phone addiction at an all-time high, it's no wonder your employees use their cell phones during work hours. To help combat cell phone use at work, we've come up with a short list of ways to help reduce the mass distraction that cell phones create.

Suggestion 1: Give Employees Tips to Prevent Cell Phone Usage at Work

72% of Canadians say they face at least one distraction at work and being on their phone is at least one of these self-imposed factors. The good news is that employees are aware that cell phones are a distraction. So, to limit personal use of cell phones at work it is a good idea to provide employees with tips to help them check their phone less often.

A good tip to share with employees is to suggest that they turn off their phone notifications. By turning off phone notifications during work hours, employees won't be alerted to everything they're missing. Therefore, even employees who constantly check their phones will be less likely to respond to missed calls or texts because they won't know that they have any.

Another good tip is to delete or move any distracting apps from their cell phones home screen. Most of the time, mobile usage is unconscious. Employees may feel the need to constantly go on their cell phone and their home screen is the first thing they see. If they remove any apps from their home screen that they normally spend time on, they'll be less likely to continue using their phone after they initially go on it.

The last tip we recommend is to suggest to employees to put their phone on grayscale during work hours. Grayscale is when everything on the phone's screen is a shade of gray. When employees change their screen to Grayscale, they'll be less likely to use their phone, because it is much less attractive to look at than the normal coloured screen.

Suggestion 2: Put Your Phone Away

As a business owner, you probably know that smartphone addiction is at an all-time high. You may even face cell phone addiction yourself. That is why it is important to lead by example. Let employees know that during work hours you will be putting your phone in your desk and that you would like them to do so as well. Let employees know that putting their phone away during work hours will help limit their distractions at work and help them accomplish more. To encourage this behaviour, let employees know that the employees who are successful in keeping their phone in their desk will receive a reward.

Suggestion 3: Explain When Employees Should not be on their Phones

It's important to understand that when it comes to cell phones, they are here to stay. Instead of reprimanding employees for being on their mobile devices at work, we suggest taking a different approach. Let employees know that there are certain times when it is inappropriate to be on their phones along with a reason why.

For example, let employees know that during meetings, they should not be on their cell phones as their undivided attention should be given to the person they are meeting with. Additionally, when employees are with customers let them know it is inappropriate to be on their phones as they should be focused on helping the customer as opposed to checking their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter Feeds.

Suggestion 4: Give Employees a Phone Break

Telling employees that they will be punished for being on their phone during work hours will likely lead to employees sneaking around to use their cell phones. Such a strict environment may even cause tension in the workplace.

Instead of creating a strict ban, try to be understanding when it comes to personal phones in the workplace. We suggest treating cell phone use the same way companies treat employee coffee breaks. Give your employees short 5-minute breaks throughout the day, where they can be on their phones. Whether they need to catch up on personal calls or just want to check their social media, encouraging employees to shift their behavior to only use their cell phones when they are away from their desk will help them to be on their cell phones less throughout the workday.

Be Understanding

Removing cell phones from the work environment is unrealistic and could cause employee upset. It is important that when dealing with cell phone use in the workplace to be understanding and try to create an environment that limits the use of personal phones as opposed to eliminating it completely. With the workplace always changing, cell phones won't be the only disrupter your business will face.