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Is Texting Affecting Productivity? 5 Tips to Handle It Right

Most organizations have rules about personal phone calls, using the internet for personal purposes such as Facebook, personal emails, etc. Yet there is little in the rules and regulations about texting. Normally, texting is better than talking on the phone as it is less disruptive. However, if it is done in excess, it might affect productivity. Therefore, you need to find ways to keep it in balance. Here are a few tips to guide you in this task:

  1. Be Reasonable - Do not ban texting at the workplace, because this would not only be frustrating, but also isolate your employees from their family members - especially kids who prefer to text rather than call if an accident happens. However, you could lay down rules about how and when texting is allowed, and these should be reasonable and workable.

    For example, employees should not text or use their cell phones when they are interacting with a customer. However, if they work at a desk, there is no reason why they could not use texting to communicate. At the same time, texting on company time while driving should be made against the rules.
  2. State Consequences Clearly - Rules have no significance if they are not backed up by consequences. Let your employees be clear about the consequences of the violation of the rules regarding texting and/or abusing the texting policy. They should know exactly what they will have to face if they are found breaking the rules.
  3. Treat Your Employees as Adults - Once rules are in place, give your employees the liberty to choose the way they can use their cell phones within the limits prescribed. Do not police them or make them feel like supervised children. This would bring the morale down, and productivity will suffer more. In all aspects - including the texting and use of cell phones - treat your employees as responsible adults until proven otherwise.
  4. Be Firm and Fair with Disciplinary Action - When you find violations of the rules, take immediate action. Ensure that the disciplinary action is appropriate and fair. For example, if the employee has a sick spouse or child at home and for the time being texts often, it does not mean that this requires disciplinary action. The purpose of the rules is to keep things working, not disrupt them. Any punishment perceived as unfair would actually be more disruptive than the actual infringement of the rule.
  5. Build Peer Pressure - An excellent way to check abuse is to build peer pressure. Let your employees know that the whole team would suffer if anyone of their team members is found abusing the texting permission. Peer pressure is highly effective and fair at the same time, as team members are aware of each other's problems and challenges at work.