You may have caught this week that Nigel Mills, a Conservative MP, is under investigation by the House of Commons for being caught playing the online game Candy Crush during a parliamentary committee meeting during which the subject in hand was pensions.  Whilst I must admit the subject of pensions is probably enough to drive many of us to check our mobile phones, it does highlight the need to remind employees of where the boundaries might properly lie.

I am regularly horrified at how often people feel it is acceptable to check their mobiles during work related meetings, and not just in circumstances where they are seeking to retrieve information to relation to the meeting. Debrett’s Guide to Etiquette makes it clear that checking your phone at the dining table is poor form and many people will feel the same about a meeting.

Quite apart from being a potential disciplinary issue, if any employee is caught time-wasting and surfing non-work-related sites, there is always the issue of productivity and how much it is being lost due to such distractions. Have you trained managers to be able to have conversations about this sort of thing?

Where employers haven’t actually set out any boundaries, whether that is in contracts or in policies, they might find it difficult, when they do catch an employee doing something they regard as inappropriate, to take disciplinary action. For that reason a paragraph or two in your social media policy or in your computer use policy might be a good idea.

If you’d like a review of your social media policy or if you actually need one prepared, do contact me and we’ll discuss how I could help.