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They’re with us day in, day out, watching us from our desk, nightstand, or kitchen table. Smartphones are an instrumental part of our daily lives, and in return, we’re not that happy about being separated from them either. Instead of forbidding them, what can companies do when it comes to having a smartphone in the workplace?

These days, one of our biggest life addictions is our incessant connection to devices. It’s no wonder — after all, they make tons of things in our life much much easier. However, overuse has its own consequences, a pain that we feel especially if we suddenly find ourselves without our smartphones. Withdrawal symptoms usually consist of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Moodiness
  • Heightened blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate

Our tight connection to our smartphones create serious problems, especially when it comes to using them in the workplace. That’s why it’s not rare for workplaces to make employees hand in their smartphones or limit their use by connecting to the company wi-fi which bans various social media platforms.

Even with restrictions, people find a way

These interim solutions are just that, as for every limiting company policy, employees manage to find a workaround to use their phones. Whether we like it or not. What’s more, it’s possible that a specific life situation (eg. birth of a baby or a sick relative) gives someone cause to be around their phone 24/7, making any limitation moot.

That’s why smartphone free workplaces are an unnatural concept.

Many companies argue that devices are distracting and negatively affect productivity, but used and regulated mindfully, smartphone devices can work to our benefit.

In a contemporary and progressive workplace, smartphones can be an indispensable channel for internal communication. The key is to develop the right guidelines, to help the employer and the employee use their device with clear directions.

How to create appropriate guidelines for the use of smartphones

First of all, let’s put the right tools into our employees hands. Don’t buy the best iPhone for everyone — integrate an app that supports internal communication instead. In this way, we can include employees in the company’s communication, and share relevant information with them.

We can get the right information to the right group at the right time.

This is how a forbidden device can become one of the most important devices for communication. In addition to this, we can show our respect towards our employees by not limiting them. We’re adults, they’re also adults (or at least young adults), let’s not treat them like children. And if they are children, then let’s consider the saying, if it’s forbidden they’ll do it anyway. Limiting and regulating is completely counterproductive, as we would expect. It could distract employees more to constantly think about “forbidden fruit.”

If employees can use their phones freely through various communications apps, they get the message that the company trusts them and treats them as equal partners. Beyond that, collaboration between and within teams is also supported by this in large measure. Internal communications apps keep back-and-forth communication at the forefront, so employees can also send messages, share news, and give and receive important information faster and more directly. This inspires them to get involved and involve other employees in the company circulation.

Let’s stick with the times, and instead of limiting, take advantage of the (heretofore unused) opportunity to develop an effective and easy internal communications practice. Let’s not forget, instead of forbidding, let’s incentivize use! In the long-term it’ll pay off way more.