Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Each week, a new workplace term comes onto the scene.
The latest term to make the rounds in the employment world is ‘nomophobia’. The term, which was coined during a 2008 study by the Post Office, was recently discussed by Professor Gary Martin, CEO of the Australian Institute of Management WA in a 2gb.com podcast.
The word ‘nomophobia’ is a mash up of no+mobile+phone+phobia.
Martin explained that if employees experience ‘nomophobia’ this relates to the phobia felt when they are disconnected from their smartphone. This can be brought on by physical detachment from their mobile, lack of service due to their geographic location or no battery life.
The article cited anxiety, trembling, sweating, agitation and fast and irregular heart rhythms as symptoms for those experiencing ‘nomophobia’.
While smartphones do have a place at work, as they allow employees to communicate with colleagues 24/7 and can be used to keep them connected online, they can cause problems if employees become addicted to them.
The problem of mobile phone addiction at work was highlighted in a recruitment campaign launched by a marketing firm boss who slammed ‘depressed snowflakes’, phone addicts and women with ‘psycho boyfriends’ and discouraged them from applying to a new role at his firm.
Gerald O’Shaughnessy recently told the Daily Mail that some of his previous staff members had ‘complete meltdowns’ after the firm had made it compulsory for phones to be locked away each day, and they were only given back to employees during their lunch break or after work. This was sought to prevent distraction and boost productivity.
This leaves businesses with a stark problem. If employees are unable to disconnect from their smartphones whilst at work, then this will hamper productivity and likely get them into trouble with their boss if they continually fail to do their job.
So, to ensure that smartphones at work are more of a help than a hinderance, HR should set out clear mobile phone policies and educate employees on the do’s and don’ts of using them whilst at work.