Mobile Phones: Help or Hindrance for employees?

Managers should be warned of burning out employees by excessive use of mobile devices outside work hours, consultancy firm Kelly Executive has said.

The rise of mobile devices has led to employees working longer hours, and often feeling obliged to log on and stay ‘switched on’ after hours.
The firm has urged managers to monitor time spent outside work hours on mobile devices to avoid overworking and exploiting their employees.
Kelly Executive said: “The appeal for businesses is that these mobile devices reduce response times, cut costs, improve customer service and can ‘theoretically’ enhance the efficiency and productivity of employees.”
Supporters of mobile working point to the supposed appeal and flexibility of being able to  work at the time and place of their choosing in accordance with their personal agenda.
However, other industry managers say that Australian employees run the risk of working longer hours for little or no personal reward.
Kelly Executive points to fears that an employee will always be in the ‘work’ mind frame, and runs the risk of not striking a healthy work-life arrangement.
Sally Charles, general manager, Kelly Executive said: “Mobile technology lifts productivity but can lengthen working hours for Australian employees. The biggest concern is the potential of overworked or ‘burnt’ out employees. It’s possible that employers may abuse the capability of these mobile devices, even inadvertently.”

Kelly Executive offers employers the following tips to avoid stepping into technology abuse:

  • Provide constant feedback and the right environment to nurture enthusiasm
  • Work on providing the most effective tools to increase business skills while at the same time providing leadership that aligns the workers around the companies vision, with that being – ‘we want you to work hard, but take sufficient breaks and have some down time’
  • Realise that employees can only reach peak performance when they are given the right kinds of tools to succeed.
  • Recognise when employees are not working at their optimal level due to blurring of work and personal time. When employers notice a change in working habit, it needs to be addressed immediately.
“Employees also need to take responsibility for managing their time and prioritising to ensure they are able carry out their job role within designated working hours,” Charles said.

“There is no question that sometimes work requires us to go above and beyond and be available after hours, but this should be the exception and not the rule,” she added.


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