Many companies choose to implement no-cellphone policies at work—and for a good reason. Phones are distracting, and forbidding employees to use them while on the clock should lead to higher productivity, right? But before setting your employee cell phone usage policy in stone, consider how far the technology has come.
Allowing employees to use their phones at work could improve efficiency. You’ll also need to get a hold of them immediately during a crisis or emergency.
Let’s unpack why hotel managers should reconsider their strict cell phone policies and how leveraging modern smartphone apps could raise productivity.
The No Employee Cell Phone Policy--why?
Cell phones are an extension of us—like an extra limb we can’t live without. Millions of workers bring their devices to the office, and using them on the job can be distracting and pose security and liability concerns.
Distracted hotel employees could compromise safety in various areas of operation. Imagine the potential catastrophe if your valets look at their phones while parking a guest’s car. What if your security team doesn’t notice an unsavory character walking into the building because they're distracted by a YouTube video?
For these reasons, some hotels implement a “zero-tolerance” policy, meaning employees are strictly prohibited from using their devices at work. But, in the modern, tech-driven world, such policies fall short. Life doesn’t just go on pause when we enter our workplaces. No matter how many “no phone” memos you send, your employees still need to use them.
The challenges of a no employee cell phone policy
Taking away your employees' preferred (and primary) means of communication can lead to unforeseen challenges. Let’s examine the pitfalls of a strict employee cell phone usage policy and why it might hurt your hotel.
According to Pew Research, 97% of Americans own a cell phone—most of which are smartphones. CareerBuilder found that 82% of employees keep their phones within sight while at work, meaning an incoming message or notification is sure to be noticed. Wouldn't you want employees to check immediately if that message was related to an ongoing emergency, like a sick or injured family member or a school-related incident—or something more extreme like a fire or active shooter?
Emergencies aside, how can you, as a hotel manager, promote “efficiency” and then rely on word-of-mouth, handwritten notes, and walkie-talkies to communicate with your employees? Most of them have a supercomputer in their pocket—a device capable of receiving all kinds of updates and work-related messages. Keep in mind, manual communication strategies have their own issues, including misinterpreted handwriting and lost papers.
Jesse Harrison, the founder of the Employee Justice Legal Team, believes it's more about hiring responsible people than restricting cell phone use. In his opinion, “Not having access to a mobile phone is more of a distraction than having access to it.”
Jesse likens it to the "forbidden fruit," saying employees could be more distracted thinking about the thing they can’t have. Good employees will do their jobs safely and efficiently. By setting some simple rules of the road on phone use—for example, taking calls in the break room or in areas off-limits to guest visibility—you can actually empower their efficiency. When they know what proper channels they have to check on their personal life, they're less likely to worry about it the rest of the day.
Letting your employees keep their phones at work is a sign of respect. Allowing cell phone usage for professional communication shows employees that you trust their judgment. Furthermore, hotel employees are often spread all over the facility. They must communicate quickly with one another to do their jobs effectively.
But beyond immediate work tasks, they must also communicate with family and friends. Our phones are frequently the only means we have to learn about emergencies and make or change plans.
Say an employee is expecting their spouse to pick them up—but then the car breaks down en route. Do you really want the spouse calling the office, then having someone track down the employee wherever they are on the floor, and then pulling them to the office—perhaps from an important task at the other end of the hotel? Instead, if they have their phone on them, they can duck into a private service corridor and handle the situation in a matter of minutes themselves.
Being able to carry your cellphone while at work cultivates a sense of trust, and gives the peace of mind of knowing that you can handle personal affairs as needed.
The smart phone now: A necessary tool in the workplace
Cell phones have come a long way in the past several years. They’re no longer simple devices for making calls and sending text messages. Modern smartphones have become essential tools for streamlining workplace functions.
Hotel employees can use them to clock in and out, track assigned tasks, and optimize security measures. Other advantages include managing guest requests, communicating with coworkers, and completing training modules from a single app. Instead of viewing cell phone usage as a distracting hindrance, hotel managers can leverage them as an effective tool to boost employee productivity.
Mobile apps can decrease mistakes by tracking every hotel task, and guest request's who, what, when, and where. In the age of instant communication and gratification, guests will appreciate in-app confirmation that someone has seen and is responding to their needs. It makes them feel better than simply calling the front desk and hoping the person they’re talking to isn’t distracted by another guest.
Leveraging mobile technologies for hotel employees
While guest satisfaction is a critical success metric, safety and security are equally crucial. Mobile devices keep staff safe and allow them to report workplace emergencies and hazards quickly.
Furthermore, incorporating smartphones into your workflows is a great way to boost employee engagement. The devices they’re comfortable using can simplify daily tasks, like clocking in/out, checking their schedule, and receiving work-related notifications. The real-time capabilities of mobile phones far outweigh their potentially “distracting” nature.
Mobile hotel management apps like WrkSpot allow employees to take pictures for maintenance requests. WrkSpot also leverages real-time translation capabilities to promote effective communication if there's a language barrier. On the backend, hotel managers can communicate room assignment changes, guest requests, and scheduling issues, should someone call in sick.
WrkSpot: An innovative approach to mobile workplace technologies
It’s time to rethink your employee cell phone usage policy. Instead of a blanket ban, find ways to leverage smartphones to improve productivity. Mobile hotel management apps such as WrkSpot provide your team members with the resources they need to work together. Simply put, when hotels embrace mobile technology, they position themselves to take better care of their valued guests.
Still not convinced? Get in touch with WrkSpot, the industry-leading solution for hotel management. With WrkSpot, you’ll leverage mobile-friendly management tools to track housekeeping, scheduling, and real-time hotel data. WrkSpot also works as a communication channel between you and your staff, ensuring everyone is instantly notified of changes, requests, and emergencies.
Get in touch with WorkSpot today to request a free demo and discuss your current challenges with a hotel industry expert.