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Concerns about cellphone-related distractions in the workplace

Technology can create new avenues for efficiency in the workplace. However, it can also present some worker productivity challenges for businesses. For example, some technologies can provide new routes for employees to get distracted and “slack off” at work.

Take smartphones for example. These days, it is incredibly common for a person to have their cellphone with them while working. Among the things some employees may be tempted to do with their cellphone while on the job is use it for non-work activities. This could include things like:

  • Checking their personal email.
  • Going onto social media.
  • Checking sports scores.
  • Playing games.
  • Shopping online.

How common is it for employees to engage in these sorts of personal activities on their phone while at work? A recent study based on a survey of around 600 U.S. workers and senior office managers indicates it is quite common in the American office environment. According to the study, office employees in the U.S spend, on average, around five hours of their work week on non-work-related smartphone use.

Workers being distracted from their work by their cellphones could cut down workplace productivity. The above-mentioned study estimated that employee use of cellphones for non-work activities on the job might, in total, be depriving U.S. offices of $15.5 billion in productivity per week.

So, smartphone-related distractions are something employers may be very concerned about when it comes to their workforce. Given this, among the policies companies may want to put in place are policies on workplace cellphone use. Such policies can help with setting up clear expectations within a given company’s workforce of what sort of workplace cellphone use will be deemed unacceptable.

When a business is setting up any workplace policy, the details of the policy can matter greatly. When unclear or confusing terms are in a policy, it could undermine the policy’s aim of setting up clear expectations for a workforce. Paying close attention to details can also be important for a company when it is taking disciplinary actions against an employee in connection to a workplace policy. Missteps or oversights by a company when taking such actions could open the door to employment law troubles, such as allegations of a disciplinary action being wrongfully discriminatory or retaliatory. Businesses can seek out guidance on the details of the formation and enforcement of workplace policies from experienced business lawyers.

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