Any person who is classified as part of the millennial or Gen Z generation is growing up in a world where contact with two to five screens at a time is the norm. Between smart phones, tablets, laptops and wearable digital accessories (like an Apple watch), the upcoming workforce is utilizing the digital world to its fullest capacity.
Starting at an elementary age, students are exposed to technology. There is a push in public schools to utilize technology, and many public schools are going digital, meaning textbooks are being replaced with e-books and teachers are turning in chalk for touchscreen boards. However, with all the exposure and maximization of technology, there are still many regulations about cell phone usage in school. Orange County Public Schools (the fifth largest county in Florida) just implemented a new regulation on phone usage for high school students. Students are prohibited from using phones in class, and the justification is that all students are provided with laptops. Similarly, many college professors have a statement in their syllabus about the discouragement of using cell phones in the classroom.
The trend of eliminating the amount of time a person is on his phone continues into the workforce. Employers don’t want to see their staff flipping through the new Snapchat filters every other hour. However, with the most tech-savvy and digital-oriented employees tackling the current job market, it is important to adjust company policies to match the strengths of the future leaders of the company. The paradox of maximizing technology and discouraging cell phones needs to be challenged. The following reasons present the benefits of allowing cell phone usage at work:
If a business aims to engage with an audience, social media is most likely the medium being used. Using a cell phone at work allows employees to post content that represents a business positively and promotes the latest productions of a company.
Emails and text messages are helpful when explaining in-depth situations. Cell phones are great when you have a quick update or reminder for an employee/co-worker. As a millennial, I check my email about every other hour because my inbox usually quickly fills up with information about involvement opportunities, event announcements or lengthy reminders from an organization. The information in my emails usually requires me to sit down and look at my planner so I can carefully adjust my schedule for the upcoming weeks. If I were to check every email the moment it’s received, I would be overwhelmed with detail-oriented information. However, I am constantly on my phone to text and stay updated on the different daily aspects of my schedule. It is also how I communicate informal information to my employers and advisors, or contact someone if I am having an emergency that needs to be addressed immediately. Using cell phones for professional communication in the workplace allows millennial and Gen Z employees to communicate in a way they are familiar with and will therefore be the most efficient means of communication.
Anyone in the marketing and business arenas know today’s name of the game is change. New and current events are being revised by the minute, experts in any field are producing new content and advice everyday and the way people engage with one another changes with every iPhone update. In any business, staying relevant is what will set a company a part and put it ahead of its competitors. Using a smartphone at work enables employees to stay current on the changes that are constantly taking place.
If you are seeking a job that does not allow smartphones on the clock, consider acting as an agent of change and find strategies that would benefit a business by using cell phones. Set guidelines on what is appropriate phone usage and what is not acceptable. Measure how cell phone usage affects productivity and changes the atmosphere in the workplace. It may be time to not put that cell phone away.