The use of personal mobile phones in the workplace

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The use of personal mobile phones in the workplaceThe use of personal mobile phones in the workplace

I was reading a thread on LinkedIn recently about the use of personal mobile phones in the workplace. The responses, typically, were “it’s fine, get over it…”, “don’t like it…” or “it’s a generation thing…”

Thing is, I don’t recall any of the responses thinking a little broader. When I worked for my last company, over the spell of the 12 years I was there, mobiles evolved from a means of talking to a means of communication.

Communication is not just talking. And importantly, ‘work’, in a lot of sectors, is predominantly communication.

So, how are mobiles phones being used in the workplace?

From my experience, lots of staff had their personal mobiles in hand and were tapping away most of the time. But far from this being about showing friends the dog’s latest funny video (yaaaawn), although I’m sure that was happening, there was a lot of work going on too.

Personal devices get used a lot for work purposes. This in itself poses some concern, but the fact of the matter is that just because you see people glued to their own, personal mobile phone, it doesn’t mean they’re not working.

I work for myself now, and I find myself working on my mobile all the time. Sorting through email using the Google Inbox app is more time effective than using the Mac Mail app on the computer.

Colleagues contact me via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other Social Media platforms all the time. I’m not going to go to the office, log in to the computer, fire up Chrome and respond when it’s all in hand (literally) on my mobile.

Clearly, if you have staff, knowing that they’re not spending all day on their mobile talking to friends and, therefore, not getting work done, is important. But surely that’s where trust and a positive office culture comes in. Give them a little rope and you’ll get it back two-fold, just not in obvious ways.

For example, I never had any complaints at how I used my mobile in the office, and I was often checking Facebook and Instagram etc. But I also checked work related things using my personal data plan, made work calls while I was travelling and didn’t ask for expenses to cover them. I also took calls from people out-of-hours. And I know I’m not alone doing this.

What are your thoughts and experiences?

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