Since they originated, cell phones have connected us in ways that we couldn’t have imagined.  And while they make communicating easier, they also create distractions in the workplace and have a negative effect on productivity.  Being aware of cell phone usage and enforcing your company’s cell phone policy will cut down on distractions and improve efficiency in the workplace.  In the work environment, using smart phones for personal reasons isn’t a smart choice.

Please Silence Your Cell Phones

Cell phones have become such a distraction in our society that even movie theaters request that their patrons silence their cell phones. We silence our phones for the latest summer blockbuster, why wouldn’t we do the same in our place of work?  A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance found that even if the phone wasn’t answered, simply hearing the alert is enough to “prompt task-irrelevant thoughts”.  So every time you hear the buzz or beep of a cell phone alert in the office you are really hearing your employees losing their train of thought.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

According to a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 82 percent of employees with smart phones keep their phones within eyesight at work.  This begs the question: if they don’t plan on texting/making personal calls/etc. then why are their phones within eyesight?  To ensure that employees aren’t focusing more on their phones than their work, make sure that their phones are in an appropriate location such as in a purse, backpack, in their desk, or left in their car.  Keeping cell phones out of eyesight decreases the temptation to constantly check their phones and increases their ability to focus on their work.

Set the Example

When it comes to the cell phone policy at work, managers need to set the example.  CareerBuilder conducted a poll in which 24 percent of employers admitted that they spend at least an hour of their workday conducting personal business on their smart phone.  If employers want to see the time employees use their cell phones for personal matters cut down, they need to put the phones away themselves.

When Push Comes to Shove

There may come a time when cell phone usage becomes an issue, and employees consistently using cell phones for personal reasons during work hours is hindering their ability to focus on their work.  If this happens, make sure to review your company’s cell phone policy with them.  They should have read it before; however, before any disciplinary action is taken it is important to not only explain the policy but explain it’s importance in the workplace.  When push comes to shove, progressive disciplinary action should be taken in accordance with your company’s policy.


Through encouraging your employees to silence their cell phones and put them in an appropriate location, you will minimize distractions in the workplace.  Simply put, the work place is one location where smart phones aren’t a smart choice.