Can you use your cell phone during working hours? What are the rules on this issue?
Is it possible to negotiate with the manager in special situations? Check out more information on the topic!
What we will see in this article
The technological change in cell phones
Many years ago the cell phone stopped being just an auxiliary means of communication and has become a fundamental device in most people’s lives.
The technological advance that has turbocharged the devices, transforming the old cell phones that “only” made calls and sent messages into smartphones, has greatly contributed to this paradigm shift.
Nowadays, a modern smartphone works almost like a mini computer: there you can access the internet (and perform all the functions that the web allows), take photos, record videos, make notes integrated with calendars, add reminders and more.
Applications with a thousand and one functions
In addition, the advent of cell phone applications has further increased the number of functionalities as there are specific applications for every type of function.
So nowadays people can use their cell phone for many different things, such as accessing their bank account, buying and selling shares on the stock exchange, writing texts, using design tools, exercising, and controlling their diet.
The use of cell phones at work
So, with all these features available, it is natural that the cell phone has also become a work tool.
Therefore, the very understanding of the importance of cell phone use has broadened greatly.
Many establishments have a customer service channel via WhatsApp for example, or profiles on social networks. There are employees who work directly on these functions, some through their cell phones.
So it is understandable in many different contexts that the cell phone is an important instrument for performing work and for employees’ communication, whether with customers, with bosses, or with their own teams.
Difference between cell phone as a work tool vs. as a leisure tool
However, there is a very clear difference between using a cell phone as a professional tool and using a cell phone only for leisure and entertainment purposes. And the two should not mix.
Let’s face it, it is inappropriate to use a cell phone for other purposes, unrelated to the performance of one’s job, during working hours.
If this is not part of your duties, it is not good form to watch videos, answer messages on social networks, play games, or make posts during your working hours.
The focus should be entirely on the tasks you need to perform, especially if there are clear rules in your company on the subject. If you explicitly disregard them, you are liable to penalty.
What does the labor legislation say?
Article 482 of the CLT is the one that deals with the provisions that can constitute grounds for termination of employment for just cause.
It states that both acts of indiscipline and insubordination as well as negligence (negligence) in the performance of their duties.
Therefore, if the employee is making improper use of the cell phone during working hours, receives warnings on the subject, and continues with the same practices, he can even be penalized with a dismissal for just cause.
Remember that this type of penalty will be justified in contexts where it is explicitly proven that the employee is neglecting his or her duties to use the cell phone for no apparent reason.
Before harsher penalties, soft penalties and talks
However, it is most common for leaders and managers to convene employees for conversations about the issue before taking more drastic measures.
These conversations can have a collective content, either in the context of an educational lecture or a staff meeting, to deal exclusively with the topic.
It is also possible to have meetings and private conversations with employees who have a history of indiscriminate cell phone use, especially during the course of their duties.
Educational actions are interesting
Depending on the nature of the job, the use of a cell phone during working hours can even increase the safety risk of performing the task.
In professions that need to follow work safety and accident prevention measures, for example, any distraction can literally be fatal.
Therefore, educational and informative campaigns on the subject are very valid. There are many employees who in fact do not have adequate knowledge and think that it is okay to use a cell phone at various times during the workday.
Adopting a mild tone, which addresses both what is required by law and the good practices and rules of the company, is a great solution to get around this kind of problem.
What if I have a problem and need to monitor the cell phone, how do I proceed?
Of course, each case is a case and contextualizations are important. If the employee has a problem in his personal life, such as a sick child, and needs to be more attentive on the phone, this will be put into perspective.
In any case, it is recommended to take the situation to your leader or manager and explain the situation. If there is a plausible justification for more frequent use of the cell phone during a specific day, this will certainly not be grounds for a penalty.
So you can use your cell phone during working hours?
The answer is: it depends. The use of cell phones at work will depend on the company’s rules, the characteristics of your job, the conversations you have with your managers about the subject, and what policy you have on the subject.
Obviously, no one can stop you from using your cell phone during break times, such as lunch hours. Brief pauses to have a cup of coffee or to go to the bathroom can be opportune moments to take a quick look at the cell phone.
The most important thing is to have common sense and not do during working hours what you like to do in your spare time, like watching videos on Youtube that have nothing to do with your job.
If you can’t control yourself, that’s a problem
Unfortunately, the indiscriminate use of smartphones already generates problems such as addiction to the use of cell phones and social networks, and even phobias to stay away from the device.
If you experience any of these symptoms, or feel great distress at being away from your cell phone, this may be a problem.
If you can’t control yourself from messing with your cell phone, no way, the best thing to do is to leave it away from you, in your bag.
This way, even if “forcefully”, it will be easier to control yourself and avoid falling into the temptation of looking at your social networks, applications and games during office hours.