The Age Of Personal Disconnection

Technology can be just as frustrating as it is helpful. Information is now to the point that it is readily available at our finger tips twenty-four hours a day and the decision is now ours as to when we look at it. However, I’m finding more and more people who don’t have the self restraint to disconnect themselves when it is appropriate.

I proudly spend each day of my professional life representing a company who keeps their guest service standards at the top of the chart. For our front line employees there are strict rules about never having their phones out when they are in front of guests. This ensures that these employees are always giving our guests their full attention and that’s something I know many companies enforce across the globe. I applaud companies who uphold that rule and hope that every single company out there adopts it as soon as humanly possible.

Once you get past the level of front line employees, the rules for cell phone usage begin to change dramatically as you escalate up the ladder. Within most industries managers are allocated a company phone and my industry happens to be one that is included int this. Most companies that I’ve worked for have always distributed Blackberry’s and now many of them are transitioning to the iPhone. I’m finding that, with how accessible information can be with iPhones, now many managers are walking around with their cell phone permanently attached to their hand.

When I had a Blackberry I found myself using it to answer back important emails immediately, but it was almost impossible to pull up an attachment to a size that could be readable even with my glasses on. Therefore, if it wasn’t important then I didn’t worry about reading it until I got back to my desk. However, with the convenience of opening emails and attachments on iPhones, now everyone has their phone glued to their hand and their eyes attached to the screen at all times when they are away from their desk.

Just recently I had the opportunity to visit where I work as a guest and every time I turned around I saw a manager out in public view of the guests fixated on their company iPhone. I observed a manager standing in the middle of a line, that guests were walking through, for over five minutes while he looked only at his company iPhone. He didn’t look up, smile or even acknowledge the guests that were passing him. Was there a reason he was even standing in the middle of the line? I’m sure that’s not the only place he could have gotten cell reception, but he sure didn’t seem to show any reason to be there.

Our rules haven’t suddenly changed just because it is even easier to read your emails and messages. Please, put down your company iPhone and go back to focusing on the guests again! These iPhones were distributed to make our jobs easier and more efficient; not to consume our lives and take us away from the people we are there to please. Make the decision to put your phone down and you’ll make everyone’s day better.

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