Mobiles in the workplace

The use of mobile phones in the workplace is a concern for many employers. It is important to tackle this issue when it arises as continued usage will have a detrimental impact on productivity and increase the risk of confidential data breaches. Taking a proactive and visible approach will help discourage other staff members from using their mobile phones in the future.

It is important that you implement a suitable mobile phone policy setting out your stance on the matter. Having the rules outlined in a policy will allow you to begin a disciplinary procedure, should one be considered necessary. The policy should be clear and specific, taking into account personal phone calls, text messages and social media usage. Due to advancements in technology, it would be useful to include devices such as tablets and smartwatches, and if you have an old policy you can update this accordingly. You should also specify in the policy where staff are required to keep their phones during working hours, such as out of sight or in a locked drawer.

Once a policy is in place it is important to address any incidents of unacceptable mobile phone usage. You should address the next individual caught using their mobile phone, asking them to refrain from doing so immediately. An informal meeting may be all that is needed with the individual to warn them of their misconduct and give them an opportunity to change their behaviour. If the individual has already been afforded this opportunity then you may wish to begin a formal disciplinary procedure on the matter, beginning with formal warnings that increase in seriousness should the misconduct continue.

Whilst taking a proactive approach to mobile phone usage will deter other staff members from following suit, you are advised to educate your workforce further on the matter. You could put up posters which discourage staff from using mobile phones or place notices on staff notice boards. For a less subtle approach, you may opt to hold a meeting with the entire workforce, issuing them with a copy of the policy on mobile phone usage and reminding them of their responsibility to adhere to the policy.

To succeed in tackling mobile phone usage, you should be proactive and look to discipline and educate their workforce in equal measure. At the same time, it is equally important that managers lead by example and abide by the rules of the policy, which will create a more unified and cooperative workforce.


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