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Cell Phones at the Office

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 2, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A few months ago I read a post on professional forum that has stayed with me due to the fact that I was absolutely shocked by the content. Actually, first I laughed because for a moment I thought the whole thing was a joke.

Here’s the story: The owner of a small firm (seven people) wrote that he was very concerned that his employees were wasting time and making more mistakes on drawings because of their cell phones. He believed the phones were too much of a distraction. His proposed solution was to take the phones away from everyone and put them in a cubby near his desk. The employees could have their phones back for their lunch break and when they left for the day.

Take. Their. Phones. Away.

Like kids in daycare checking their backpacks? In a cubby?

He also mentioned that he got the idea from a friend of his (another firm owner) who tried that approach and two employees quit on the spot. Really? I was surprised it was only two.

The response on the forum was fast and brutal. From “you have GOT to be kidding” to “I would be the first one out the door” to “what decade are you living in?”, there was not a single response supporting his plan. Several people suggested he might want to give some serious thought to his management style.

When cell phones first became popular, our firm’s unwritten policy was that you had to silence the ring so you wouldn’t disturb your co-workers. That was really just the reasoning of one principal and didn’t last long.  Today, our cell phones ring more than the landline does, and I can usually figure out who’s phone is ringing because I recognize the ring tone!

My cell phone is a tool at work, just like my computer. I access our bank accounts online every morning, and for certain functions, the bank sends me a code via text. It’s common for someone in one of the conference rooms to text me to step into a meeting. My co-worker sends me a text if she’s running late because of weather. I check email at home from my cell phone, night and day.

I’m sure a lot of firms have policies that others would find unusual or overly strict, but I just can’t imagine working where you were denied access to your cell! Unless you work for that giant company that ships everything in boxes with smiles on them… check out a few other weird company rules here.

How is your company handling cell phones in the office? Tell us in the comments below.



Karen Roman, FSDA, is the Business Manager for Intergroup, Inc. in Littleton, CO.

She is the current SDA National President-Elect for the 2019-2020 term.

Tags:  Cell Phone Policy  Cell Phones  SDA 

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Comments on this post...

Sabrina Heard, FSDA says...
Posted Tuesday, December 3, 2019
We also think that cell phones are a distraction, but no more distraction than your email popping up. This boss should teach his employees how to manage distractions instead of taking things away. We even have clients texting us throughout the day. They expect to be able to connect to us in other ways than just email.
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Penny Nelson, CDFA says...
Posted Tuesday, December 3, 2019
While cell phones are a distraction, I agree that they are also a useful tool. The staff frequently communicates via text ("Running late, be there in 10"), and clients frequently contact our PMs on their cell phones. Honestly, the only employees abusing their phones are usually not the best employees to begin with. We find it to be more of a personnel issue than anything. If we see abuse, we speak with the employee directly rather than punish the entire staff. And yes, I would be first out the door too under that policy, if only because of that style of management.
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Betsy Nickless, FSDA says...
Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Sadly, there are still some old-school owners who won't accept current technology or the benefit. But I know of one whose phone rings (loudly...) during meetings, and he answers it!!
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