Recently, while talking to an individual that I know, they were discussing their work day and while doing so, went onto confide that they were very frustrated with one of their co-workers, as this individual had a habit of taking numerous personal calls a day at their desk. Though the total length of the calls did not surpass 30 minutes a day, the individual explained they were frustrated, as they were not only a distraction, but they seemed to not be very important in nature. My friend went onto state that they make it a point to schedule personal calls during lunch hours and were confused as to why this individual could not do the same.
This got me thinking about “Personal Phone Calls” at work and if organizations had policies in place to help control this sometimes all too common issue. Sure, sometimes calls at work are necessary. Individuals may be expecting an important call confirming an appointment, awaiting an update on an ill family member, or receiving a quick call alerting them that their child is home from school. However, many calls are not necessary in the work environment and often lead to a loss in productivity.
If as a Manager, you have an employee that is consistently utilizing time during the work day to catch up with their family and friends on the phone, it may be time to discuss with your Human Resources Department a “Personal Phone Call Policy”.
The purpose of this policy would be to manage employee personal phone calls during normal business hours, especially if they are utilizing company phone lines. Personal calls during business hours not only prove to often be a distraction, but they take individuals minds off their job duties and may even tie up company phone lies, preventing clients and customers from being able to get through to your organization.
As an employer, you should limit the allowance of personal calls for your employees, during working hours, to emergency situations, or other situations that employees can alert their Managers to.
Administer a written policy and have employees sign off on this policy, ensuring that they fully understand the new policy and do not have any additional questions pertaining to it. Once the policy has been rolled out, make sure your Managers are properly administering the policy. It is important that not only your employees understand they are not allowed to take unauthorized personal calls at their desk, but that it is enforced. If you notice an employee not following procedures correctly, sit them down and make sure they fully understand the policy. Have the employee take responsibility and ask them to tell their family and friends about the new company policy.
Though putting together yet another policy for your organization will require some initial time and investment, in the long run, you will gain that time back in productivity from your employees and team!