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Do You Catch Your Employees On Their Phones Too Often? Here’s What to Do About It

There’s one clear moment when enough is enough.

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BY Jackelyn Ho - 28 Feb 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

You finally have your dream team together. Everyone on your vision board is now sitting in your new office and you are ready to crush all 578 of your immediate and big picture goals. With a team of this much perfection, you have a feeling those big picture items will feel not-so-big after all.

Wait, but what's that? Is that your graphic designer on her phone? And hold on, why do you keep seeing your marketing director watch Facebook videos every 15 minutes? They can't possibly have time for any of that.

Next thing you know, you're freaking out over how much you're paying them vs. what they're spending their time doing and then you suddenly become the world's greatest micromanager. Yikes.

Although studies say that truly productive employees should and need to take breaks, it seems counterintuitive that breaks should be this distracting and frequent.

How much is too much? When do you step in and say something?

It's as simple as this: when deadlines are not being met.

Admit it -- we all get distracted. Breaking news, group texts, and Instagram notifications all catch our eye at a moment's unscheduled notice and sometimes we just have to give in. Your employees are the same.

It becomes an issue when they are dilly-dallying more than they are responding to your emails and it turns into a red flag when they are missing crucial deadlines.

If it starts as a mini-issue, address it in an all-hands meeting without pointing out specific culprits. Simply mention that you've noticed that there are a lot of distractions happening during the workday and even though you want your employees to have fun and take breaks, there are to-do's that need to be crossed off faster than they currently are. Plus, the domino effect of an employee getting distracted and affecting their co-workers could lead to more issues and reduced productivity.

When it becomes a bigger issue, as in work not being turned in on time or aloofness during meetings, take people in for a one-on-one. Tell them exactly what you are observing and the direct results from those observations. At the end of the day, if they're not getting their work done, it is means for termination -- and no one wants that.

Remember, make these expectations clear with your team from the get-go. Assign projects with specific deadlines and from there, give them the benefit of the doubt if you catch them in a texting storm, so long as their still turning in quality and on-time work.

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