Maximising office productivity within the era of the smart phone

The new technological organ we cannot live without, smart devices have become evermore important to our sense of self and society. Laptop or mobile or tablet, the little piece of tech is a sticky sidekick many employers are having difficulty detaching from their workers.

“Mobile phone use for personal reasons during working hours has become ubiquitous among people of all ages,” states a 2018 study from Penn State University. Although only 12 percent of participants required use of their smartphone, 56 percent said they had access to their phone on vibrate mode during working hours.

“It is well documented that interacting with a mobile phone is associated with poorer performance [due to a worker’s] limited attention resources shared between tasks,” posits the Journal of Experimental Psychology. So how can employers resolve the issue and maximise productivity?

Here are a few suggestions we’ve researched which may work for your office:

Establish Etiquette

There is normally an unwritten set of rules around phone and personal device usage in the workplace. If this is not being adhered to, maybe making a visible set of rules to remind of the ethics of phone use could be a helpful option.

This list could include:

  • Important calls only
  • Find a private place
  • No phones during meetings
  • Keep your phone in a drawer

Other rules could also be established to help improve productivity, be flexible and see how it goes.

Phone Fridays

Friday office hours commonly have more lenient rules, such as dress-down Friday or fast-food Friday. Your office may already have their own Friday rule-set; but most offices opt not to.

If smart device allowance is causing a productivity problem, perhaps allocating a day where phones are specifically permitted may have a psychological effect on workers and help them reassess how they are using their personal device.

This allocation would then allow you to change your stance on devices in the office for regular work hours. Be flexible and use common sense; compromise and reasoning are the best ways to ensure a happy workforce.


An unpopular option but one that works. As long as you are assured of no dissension in the ranks, flat out banning smart device usage can be an effective option.

Many organisations, such as schools and factories, employ a ‘phone free zone’ and provide a secure collection point before entry to the building. If you are seeing phone usage as a major problem, then this may be an option.

It must be remembered, searching employees is an invasion of privacy, and in the case of emergencies access to mobile phones must be allowed. Yet, with the correct mindset and attitude, banning can be worthwhile option.

Draft a policy

Legally binding documentation is a good way to protect yourself and your employees from misconduct. In most cases this is not necessary for the issue of mobile phones, however it is not uncommon.

The policy could concern access, privacy, security, guidelines, and violation consequences. Both employees and managers would read and sign the document and then the policy is able to be safely enforced.

A clear and reasonable office policy is the best way forward to improve productivity levels and proactivity.

Introducing the Chargebox range of mobile and laptop charging lockers for the workplace

The ChargeBox Range

The straightforward solution to any issues concerning smart devices and productivity levels in the workplace – introducing the ChargeBox range. Offering secure storage and controlled separation, our charging lockers can be easily included in any office and possibly written into the office policy under device prohibition.

Whether you have a stringent policy or are more relaxed, the ChargeBox locker and trolley are an excellent addition for storing and charging expensive smart technology. Heat resistant and specifically designed to fit the modern office environment, our ChargeBox lockers are ideal for discreetly charging laptops, mobiles, tablets and electrical personal devices.

Available in a variety of sizes and styles, the robust steel compartments offer security and practicality. Perfect for offices, factories, schools, call centres, customer services and many other environments; all powered units are available with or without USB sockets.

Office Furniture Direct understands the needs and difficulties of the office, supplying a wide range of quality products to help you create your ideal work environment.

Browse our range of ChargeBox lockers and trolleys, or if you have any queries or want further information, call our technical team on 01480 220311.