Cell Phones at Work: Friend or Foe?

Depending on whom you ask, the cell phone is either the best or the worst thing that ever happened to our society.

While their proliferation in our culture is unprecedented by connecting us, plugging us in from afar, and providing seemingly endless entertainment, fodder, and information with just one click, what does it all mean for our productivity and performance, especially in the workplace?

Are they too distracting at work? Can one really focus and successfully complete tasks while simultaneously checking their texts or inbox? Does your company have a cell phone policy for restaurant employees or any kind of restaurant cell phone policy or restaurant “no cell phone” policy in place?

We’ve recently tackled the “cell phones at work: friend or foe” topic in a spirited team conversation led by our very own, Dan Simons. As owner and operator, Dan has a clear stance on the subject.

“Your cell phone is indeed smart. It’s actually brilliant. It’s a brilliant, billion-dollar idea built to get you addicted – and it’s working,” says Dan. “Just look at the valuations of Apple and Facebook and everyone else who thrives on the cell phone being a permanent, full-time part of the user’s life.”

As a champion for creating separation between our team members and their smartphones, Dan believes that the best work and the best conversations always materialize when people can truly focus and be present. That’s the key: focus. Not multi-task.

We experimented with this philosophy and won. The initial horror of putting our phones away altogether (see photo), gave way to focused, engaging, lively interactions that allowed us the separation we needed to get stuff done. Sure, we realize that staff with small children or a big life event on the horizon might not be comfortable having their phones totally out of sight, but in reality those scenarios are rare and can be solved with a phone in do not disturb mode.

Our message is clear: Be the change you want to see. Encourage your staff to disconnect. Set the tone. Start with your phone. Turn it off. Be present. We promise, you and your restaurant team will be better for it.

*Our secret weapon. Staffers place their cell phones away in this safe box during meetings. The result? A present and participatory team. Win. Win.