8 May 2019
Have phones at work become the new ‘smoking in the workplace’?
Mobiles are everywhere today, you cannot escape them. In the office, on the train, in the street, the office, airplanes, the underground, cinema, restaurants, theatre, gym, sauna. My latest encounter was only last week, a steam room at my gym where the texting user when asked if it was appropriate to have a mobile in such a place advised me it was ‘waterproof’, an amazing example of not getting the consideration for others point.
Even the delivery room is not out of bounds. Constance Hall snapped back at 'mummy shamers', who said that it was 'poor parenting' for her to be on her phone!
The streets are being walked by individuals in a zombie like trance, gazing in thrall at screen content- a book, an e mail, a movie. Even mothers with babies in prams and pushchairs are not exempt. And in some cases, sadly, death has followed.
A recent RAC Report on Motoring revealed a significant increase in the number of drivers admitting to using a mobile phone at the wheel. According to the report, between 2014 and 2016 this figure has risen from 8% to 31%. Regardless of the reason, any distraction behind the wheel can lead to accidents, severe injuries and car write offs.
In January this year, the Trump White House issued a new ruling banning the use of personal cellular devices in the West Wing, citing security concerns
From what I see on my way to meetings around the country, mobile device dependency is so bad that the use of phones is almost the equivalent corporate time waste of office smokers who regularly decamp for a puff at the expense of their non-smoking co-workers although I guess some multi-tasking with phone and fag could occur.
I would be the first to declare that I have an iPhone and iPad (in BBC speak, other devices are available) but I yearn for some considered quiet time to be extended to those around you who get caught up in this mobile use tennis match. Consideration is something that seems to be asked for by way of signage but never acted upon.
Train journeys are a nightmare, even in so-called quiet carriages. You are never more than a seat away from some very important individual shouting down a phone. Along with their loud summaries of the most important business deal ever done by anyone, anywhere, anytime, conversations also contain stock phrases like ’I am on the train’, ‘Sorry, I just went through a tunnel’, must be a dead spot’, ‘can you e mail me that’, ‘sorry can you say that again’ and of course, I think we were just cut-off.
The conversations often contain corporate buzz phrases like:
That’s enough for now, I could go on, perhaps you may wish to add some that irritate below?
“Distracted walking” incidents, according to the National Safety Council“are on the rise, and everyone with a cell phone is at risk. According to the USA Governors Highway Safety Association report, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2017. This number mirrors 2016 fatalities”
We are losing focus on our surroundings and putting our safety – and the safety of others – at risk.
The solution: Think about your surroundings and those around you. Stop using phones while driving, walking, in the gym, spa, climbing stairs, getting off trains, buses and planes, on road crossings too. Amazingly over half of so called distracted walking injuries occur in our own homes, proving that we need to stay aware of our surroundings, whether they’re new or familiar.
We have all sorts of ‘awareness’ days, weeks or months, has the time has come to have a ‘awareness’ month for not using a mobile device for calls, texts and e mailing in ALL public places?
Just a thought.
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