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Cell Phone Use at Work

Where do you draw the line with personal phone use at work? I have an employee that constantly talks on her cell phone and texts. Its usually her needy daughter, but where do you draw the line? Can you tell an employee that they are not allowed to use their cell phone or have personal calls? Also, if you can do that, can you still allow employees to use cell phones and have personal calls that are not abusing it? Located in North Carolina. Thanks.

This is a problem that many employers struggle with. It is actually easier to ban cell phone usage entirely, rather than to constantly monitor the employees usage of it.

Many employers including major fast food franchises simply ban cell phones in the workplace. They require that employees leave their cellphones in their car, or not bring them to work. Or, they allow cell phone usage only when the employee is on an approved meal or rest break. This is an extreme measure. If you take this action, be sure you are willing to enforce it with all employee, not just the one who is abusing her phone.

A simpler way to approach this problem would simply be to sit down with the employee and discuss the problem of *excessive cell phone use and texting in the workplace.* This type of behavior is so common to some people that they do not realize how much time they are wasting. You can set an objective standard, such as the employee is permitted one cell phone call or text message per shift. If you do this, you will have to follow through and issue written reprimands when the employee exceeds the limit. This solution can take up a lot of your valuable time, and frankly, an employee that you have to treat like a child is not a good employee.

The other way to approach this issue is to treat it as a performance problem. Have a conversation with the employee about the work that is not being done (or the customers who are not being taken care of) due to her cell phone use. Rather than constantly monitor the employees cell phone usage, just give her so much work that she has no time to talk on the phone — and discipline her if the work is not completed.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 12:31 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management, Performance Management.
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3 Responses to “Cell Phone Use at Work”

  1. James Forlough Says:

    Have a good day!

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi James! You, too!~ Caitlin

  3. renee Says:

    What if the person has a disabled child at home and its on them only for emegncies? The emploier never answers the phone and when called for an emegncie tell me that my husband is working and hangs up or will never get him to the phone!

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