Businessman using mobile phone

Staying Connected with Work and Not Devices

The most connected generation ever has entered the workplace. And most parents and other adult influencers of young people would agree that at times they are a little too connected; glued to their mobile devices while we’d prefer they were more present to the task at hand.

And while there are many benefits associated with being connected, including unprecedented access to information of virtually every kind, there are the downsides. Some of these are relatively harmless and more annoying than anything. Like tuning out at dinner when we’d hope they would be more engaged, not to mention appreciative. Then there are other circumstances which can be a matter of life and death.

These relate to being distracted and the bad things that can happen when even momentary lapses of concentration can cause harm to them and others around them. The statistics on car crashes caused by distracted driving are staggering. It is also no coincidence that their rise has occurred in step with the growth of mobile device usage.

Unfortunately, distractedness is also a major cause of workplace incidences with mobile devices often named as a causal factor.

It’s important to talk to your working kid and get a sense of how their mobile device may be a safety hazard in their workplace. Have the conversation.

Here’s the hard part: try not to make the conversation a speech. Many young people do not respond well to speeches about what they should or shouldn’t be doing. Make it an exchange of thoughts.

Ask them if they know anyone or have heard of anyone who has been injured due to being distracted.

Ask if they feel there is the potential for harm while being distracted.

Then bring the conversation around to work.

Does their workplace have a mobile device policy? There are some that have very strict guidelines, such as leaving them in the backpack before the start of a shift; others not at all.

If not, do they understand the implications of working while being distracted and the possibility of getting injured? For example, if they work at a restaurant or at retail that may have a swinging door, they risk the possibility of getting concussed or breaking their nose if pre-occupied with a device.

And point out the positives of staying focused on the job. For one thing it sends a strong message to managers that you are dedicated to your job and the success of your workplace. Many young people reflexively reach for their mobile devices any time they get notifications. This can make a big difference when management are reviewing staff performance and are considering promotions or have to conduct layoffs.

Helping the young workers in our lives resist distractions will have a profound effect on their lives now, and serve them well in the future.

  • M. Fenton
    Posted at 20:35h, 21 March

    Tips to help with getting through to our very dependent on devices kids. I know my son’s work which is a warehouse makes them check their phones at the front. They have them provide family with contact number to the warehouse in case they need to reach their working kids. It seems to have come down to this with most workplaces and now even some educational institutions.