Dear all,
I am a practicing dentist and I employ two front office staff.
Of late I find that they are spending too much of time making personal calls on their cell phones. This is disturbing the clinic.
How should I handle the situation ?
Any inputs would be greatly appreciated and many thanks in advance for the same.
Veerendra Darakh

From India, Mumbai

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Dear Veerendra,
Your business in not exceptional. This is common problem in industry. You can ask your staff to deposit their personal cell phone with you during working hours. During this period they will use landline phones for important call purpose only and in case of emergency their family members can call them on your office landline numbers. After all work place is for work and not chatting. When there were no cell phones peoples use to work and use to face emergency situation.
You should make it clear this at the time of appointment of staff itself.
Hope this is the best solution available at this juncture.

From India, Mumbai
First, have you made your displeasure known to your employees ?
If not, you need to do so.
At first, it may take the form of light comments in context - eg : how much do you tow spend on phone. This is office. Second time you can tell them : get off the phone please, there is work to be done.
If the message does not percolate down, then you need to call both inside and tell them explicitly - mobiles are not to be used during office. Either for personal calls or for chat or social media during office hours. And that you will start taking school teacher measures if it does not stop (eg confiscating phones, or require them to be handed over during office hours)

From India, Mumbai
Dear Dr. Veerendra,
In such matters it is advisable to follow a progressive ladder of action steps:
1. Advise: Polite discussion, explaining that it is unprofessional to use office time for personal usage, its detrimental impact on office disciple- (In case they continue with the same behaviour, then next step)
2. Stern Warning: Make it a formal discussion, state observations and mention consequences of repeated indiscipline (you should think of what would fall under strict action- It could be suspension without salary upto four days, enforcement of no-cell phone policy or in extreme situation, termination with notice pay as per the terms of the employment contract- if this does not improve the conduct, then go to step 3)
3. Strict Action- This should be done after proper documentation and ensuring that you have displayed enough fairness and guidance.
Trust this helps.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Veerendra,
1. Warn both the employees not to spend time on cell phones as a part of discipline & also tell them that it is nuisance to clients hence cannot be tolerated..
2. If they still continue with their old practice, terminate one of them who is comparitively causing more trouble & get a new employee giving her a full understanding about your disciplinary norms. Whoever agrees, provide her the job
3. Check if new employee follows disciplinary norms of not talking too much on mobile phones. & also check if the second old employee is improved if not, next would be his/her turn for exit.
4.The employees may be spending more time on cell phones because they don't have enough work load. Assess if you really need two or you can manage with one.
Satish Akut- 9822602908

From India, Pune
Thank you everybody for the insights.
I have been benefited by the same.
As I look at things the problem is multifactorial and lack of a work culture is one of them. In these times when corruption, bad "Sanskaras" and insincerity is a way of life these problems are bound to arise.
Just a few months back I hired two part time receptionists. Within a week I realized that these girls they were not only misusing the net , visiting their facebook pages but also viewing obscene images on the net. I had to throw both of them out.
The good thing is that many a times with a little bit of frank purposeful conversation these problems become less altho they may not go away completely.
Thanks once again for all the inputs.
Veerendra Darakh

From India, Mumbai
Dear Dr. Darakh,
Thanks for sharing your insights.
Your comment on "lack of work culture is" extremely pertinent.
In our education system or even in corporate training, Work Ethics, Professionalism and Etiquettes and Soft Skills are not given the importance it deserves.
We have graduates with degrees- but many of them are not employable.
I am working on solutions in this space- obviously, candidates and employers would stand to benefit.
I will be happy to connect with you to exchange ideas. My contact number is +919820307019
It is my pleasure to invite you to visit my website and LinkedIn profiles

From India, Mumbai
Very interesting topic this. Very clear that we need to be prepared for counters from such employees - after all , they can claim they were practicing the skills they were hired for.
From India, Mumbai
Give the people job and make them busy. they will be doing what they should not be doing. In first place only if we make things clear these issue comes up very less. regards,
From India, Thana

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