Posted on August 1, 2011 by Gail Danneman
Call me old fashion, but I will always feel that personal phone use during work should be restricted. Although my thumb is quite used to texting, there is a time and place for this kind of communication. I have always abided by the “emergency only” rule. Unless my mom calls three times in a row, which would make me believe something is wrong, I can call her back after work or on my lunch break. The same goes for text messaging. If my friend texts me asking me what I’m doing later that night, I can text her after work. The world has never ended because I waited to text or call someone back.
At a past internship I was in close proximity to a few other interns. While working the gentleman sitting next to me had a phone with quite the vibration. I could feel the table vibrate as I tried to continue my work. The employee would pick up his phone, laugh, and respond. This happened all day. While I did not feel it was my place to say anything, I became very frustrated. I realized my frustration was because I could not seem to understand how this employee thought his behavior was acceptable at work. I know at the end of the day I completed more work than he did because I remain focused and wasn’t constantly texting. So what does one do in a situation like this?
Surprisingly, only 40% of companies in the United States have a cell phone policy at work. One reason for this low percentage may be the difficulty enforcing such a policy. The majority of employees have Blackberrys or smartphones and while it may appear that an employee is texting, they may in fact be responding to a work email. At the organization I worked for, no cell phone policy was explained during the training period. Still, myself and other coworkers believed it was not appropriate to use our phones during work hours except during our lunch break.
Researchers believe that many people are suffering from an addiction with their phone use. While this sounds a bit extreme, it may not be that far-fetched. When my Blackberry took a plunge in the toilet last month, I was without a phone for three days. I felt disconnected with the world. I am sure most of us have had similar experiences when our phones either break or are lost. On vacation it is great to “get away” from everything, but whenever we need a bit of connectedness, we can grab our cell phone. I arrived at school one evening for class and realized I had left my phone at home. I have to say I felt very anxious as if I was missing something like my shoes.
What are your thoughts, do you think my coworker was oblivious to his inappropriate phone use or addicted to his phone?