With mobile phones becoming more present in the workplace, many businesses may want to take a harsher action towards employees using their phones during work; and understandably so.While the employer has the authority to make rules regarding mobile phones at work, there should be a specific policy surrounding the subject. Any pre-existing policies, if there are any, should clearly state if an employee is allowed on their phone and under what conditions. If an employer wants to start confiscating phones, it is important they refer to the policies in place.
Although it sounds like a big deal, many organisations already confiscate phones in the workplace to ensure protection of any sensitive material and to help maintain a good working pace. People can easily become distracted by their phones due to how easily they can text, call or use social media at their desk; removing the distraction can keep employees productive during the day and eliminates the chances of them becoming distracted.
On the other hand, it could be considered that confiscating phones can also create a negative impact on the employee’s morale; for that reason, it is important to only take such precautions when necessary. Furthermore, confiscating employee phones can put workers at a disadvantage as some may need their phone with them, for example, they could be the emergency contact for their children or other relative. This is why it will be important that employers consider everyone’s specific needs regarding their mobile phones and ensure it is fair for everyone. Introducing an emergency line for the organisation for relatives who may need employees in emergencies, or designated times for employees to check their phones could be some possible solutions.
For the reasons stated above, it is vital that the employer asks themselves if confiscating phones would be the best option under the circumstances and what other actions they could take before making any final decisions.