Cell phone jammer at work

Discussion in 'Video Games and Technology' started by grayfox, Jun 2, 2014.

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  1. grayfox

    grayfox Well-Known Member

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    I was looking around on the web, but figured I'd get input from you guys here, too..

    At work, my boss is totally fed up with employees texting and basically wasting worktime. I'm a manager there and I have to agree with him. He suggested a cell phone jammer to solve the problem. Not owning a cell phone myself, I think it's a good idea.

    I'm having trouble finding out if it's actually legal in Canada, though. Also, anyone know the strength of a jammer? Like the radius it will affect?

    I can also see how some people may think that we could better manage the employees so they don't have downtime during which they text, but unfortunately, it's not as simple as that. Employees at my place of work are left on their own with no supervision past a certain time. For example, I'll get off work at 7pm, but the employee scheduled in the evening will remain on his own until closing time at 11pm. It's a video/game store, so there are downtimes, whether we want it or not.

    Let me know what you guys think!
     
  2. Smashs

    Smashs Internet: Pure Truth Moderator TFW2005 Supporter

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  3. TFXProtector

    TFXProtector Well-Known Member

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    Instead of using an illegal jammer, how about making a rule that they have to cough up their phones while at work? Put them in a safe with a time lock. Set it to unlock at like 11:01 or something. Anyone violating that rule will get punished. Anyone who violates it again, gets canned. Works for everyone and it's legal.
     
  4. wheelnut

    wheelnut Well-Known Member

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    tell your boss to man up and start firing people if they continue to be on the phone , sounds like a guy that everyone runs over cause he doesn't want to be the bad guy.
     
  5. The Barracuda

    The Barracuda Retro, bitches.

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    As someone who was a manager of young employees who could barely live without their cellphones and in a work environment where they weren't supervised a lot of the time and there was downtime here and there, a cell phone jammer seems incredibly excessive. Apparently according to the poster above, they are illegal anyways.

    Seeing your employees constantly on their cellphones is annoying but I think if you lay down the law, it should be all right. Perhaps state they can only use their phones on their breaks and maybe give them a secure area of their own to store their belongings (do they have lockers for their personal stuff?). If they don't comply then they get a verbal warning. Once more, another warning, and then they get a choice, either don't bring the phone to work or they get fired.

    I also did my best to make sure there were enough jobs around to at least give them something to do during the downtime; I know it's busy work but if you create a checklist of everything you want to see done on a nightly basis, maybe they'll worry more about that than checking Twitter.

    Plus people are more likely to be on their phones if they're getting free Wi-Fi. If you guys have free Wi-Fi, then disable it or require a password.
     
  6. Gigatron_2005

    Gigatron_2005 President of Calendars

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    Holy shit this is irresponsible. This is a management problem. You don't correct a problem like this by blocking the possibly emergency communication of every person who walks in or near your store. If an on-call doctor or emergency responder is in or around your store and fails to receive an emergency communication, your actions could kill somebody.

    Not to mention that I would wager that your customers/other nearby businesses/passersby would probably be pretty pissed off that you're preventing them from using their phones in or around your business.

    According to the posters above, it's illegal. But it should just be common sense that you don't fix a problem this way.
     
  7. Starscreamer95

    Starscreamer95 'Civil' Nintendo Fanboy

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    It never occurred to your boss to tell the staff to leave their phones in their lockers?
     
  8. bignick1693

    bignick1693 Maximal

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    This is how I feel. It is stupid to do. As a diabetic I might be in a heavy diabetic low blood sugar and about to pass out. If I can't call for an emergency because it is jammed I'm screwed and most likely will slowly die. It is called be a man and threaten them about loosing their job if they don't shut it down.
     
  9. Digilaut

    Digilaut I'm Mary Poppins, y'all!

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    Sounds like a terrible idea.

    I get that phonecalls/texting is really distracting and probably getting out of hand, but jamming it doesn't sound like a solution. What if my family needs to call me in cases of emergency, just to name something?

    And I'll be completely, bluntly, honest: I don't know just how bad things are at your workplace (I can imagine working in a video/game store means working with younger, sometimes less professional (and more texting-prone :lol ) people), but I'm personally sick of managers and bosses that try to regulate stuff like this.

    If there's downtime, there's downtime. It's pretty unreasonable to expect employees to be fully dedicated to the job every single minute they're on the clock, as if you're trying to squeeze every last penny worth of their workforce out of them. Banning cellphones and/or coming up with artificial, meaningless tasks just to keep them busy is awful practice (not saying that's what you're trying to do, but that's normally the second step).
    TFXProtector's suggestion of not allowing cellphones while at work is a good one, although I wouldn't go as far as let them cough them up. This is not elementary school where the kids have to hand stuff they've been messing with to the teacher and are only allowed to get it back after school - but it's reasonable to not allow phones on the workfloor and request employees to leave their phones in their lockers, if available.
    However, phones have become a pretty big part of our world, especially the last five or so years. I'd actually say telling people to leave their phones or hand them in is going to rub people wrong or cause problems for them (even if the 'problem' is their own cellphone addiction :)  ), much more than five to ten years ago. I'd suggest letting them keep them, but switched to fully silent if possible - although I'm sure you've tried that and they won't listen...

    What really matters is if the employee is doing his job, right? Again, looking at the type of job/store some of the employees might be on the young side and not really 'care'- but I might be wrong.
    Generally, more trust and freedom for an employee means they'll do their work better. Treating them as untrustworthy and giving them the feeling you're constantly keeping an eye on them will bring the exact opposite results.

    Some things you might want to think about:
    -If you're going for a cellphone jammer (which I don't think is legal in most cases anyway), wouldn't that also jam customers' phones? They're not around too long, and probably won't even notice at first. But what if they need to make a text/call home to make a decision on what to buy.

    -Rather than limiting the ability to use the phone, why not find out what reasonable tasks are on one night, and check if employees are doing them? When I was younger, I worked at a groceries store and we had a checklist on all the things that needed done. Mind you, NOT an endless list just to keep you busy, but a fair, totally reasonable list of things to do within a 3 or 4 hour timespan( stocking shelves, cleaning, taking out trash, closing up, orders, setting cars up for transport...you name it. Approx. amount of sales made, maybe?) - while still leaving some room in case there's a busy night and you have to deal with a lot of customers that need extra care.
    If it turns out they're not doing them, they're probably doing other things (like texting), and you can opt to talk with that employee to see what's up - the problem is not that a person is texting, it's that he's apparently not doing his job properly and responsible. If they DO finish most, or all, of said tasks...then why would you care they use some of that downtime to send text messages? It's the results that count :) 


    Having worked at very different working environments over the years it's become clear to me that wherever you work, once management starts outlawing stuff, things only devolve. People will become less motivated, feel like they're not being trusted, and if there really isn't anything to do during downtime but are still forced to pretend they're working hard, you'll just rub people the wrong way. And I totally get why management wants/needs to step in, but I don't feel this is the right solution. :) 


    TL;DR: it's not the use of cellphones that's the problem, it's the people who are not behaving responsibly. If they do their job correctly despite the phones there's nothing to really worry about, if they don't do their job correctly you might be better off talking to them and finding out if said person is fit for the job. Don't do drugs, stay in school and the only proper jam is Space Jam.
     
  10. Boulder

    Boulder Rock Lord

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    Intentionally jamming cell signals is illegal here in the States as well.

    Your boss needs to grow a pair.
     
  11. Fallout

    Fallout ꧁꧂

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    just tell your boss to not be a pusspuss and actually enforce the rules instead of doing something as shady and unconfrontational as this?
     
  12. grayfox

    grayfox Well-Known Member

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    Hey thanks for the input, guys. Though some of you need to chill.

    The jammer is one method that got brought up by my boss. He's old school, doesn't know much about this kind of thing. Some of you bring up very good points why a jammer really is not the best solution and I will certainly let him know about it to make sure it doesn't happen.

    I don't know if it's my age showing (33) or the fact I don't own a cell phone or a little of both, but I'm honestly shocked to read in a few of the comments that using a cell phone while working is okay (not counting emergencies). Anyone remember a time when a boss would pay you for X hours of worktime and expect you to get busy that entire time? That you'd actually have to find something to do if you were done with your tasks early? Looks as if this is changing with time :)  And according to my experience, creating new challenges for managers.
     
  13. Extendarr

    Extendarr Well-Known Member

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    My workplace has a very strict zero tolerance policy for cell phones. (An emergency number is provided, in case one's family needs to get an urgent message to them. Cell phones are also permitted during breaks and lunch.) You don't even get a warning. If they catch you on your phone--or even having one out and not stowed in a locker--you're immediately terminated.

    This policy is made clear to every employee from day one.

    Time for your boss to stop being a whiner and do something about his problem.
     
  14. Extendarr

    Extendarr Well-Known Member

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    Most "old school" bosses that I've known know how to fire people for not doing their job.
     
  15. TFXProtector

    TFXProtector Well-Known Member

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    I still think a time lock safe is the best option, really. The workers keep their jobs, the safe holds their phones and they can't access it, and after their shift is over/store is closed, the lock opens, they get their phones and go on with their lives.

    It doesn't make him a pussy, (as others have so eloquently stated he was one) it will lay the law down and make them realize they're there to work.

    People today. WTF?
     
  16. TrueNomadSkies

    TrueNomadSkies Airachnid's ratservant

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    Disabling Wifi in & around the washrooms should suffice hah.
     
  17. Brakescream

    Brakescream F&@king Twist Ties!

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    I'm making an assumption here, so if I'm off, please disregard. But as someone who worked in a video/game store, considering the amount of work I was expected to do for what was essentially a minimum wage job, I don't think sending a few texts and lurking on Facebook for a few minutes in work-time is that big a crime.

    If the customers and work tasks are still given the priority, what's the harm? I mean, even you are calling it downtime. Why bother demotivating the staff by not letting them ebb and flow with the business. I'm sure you expect them to work harder than average when there's a rush on or a big delivery that needs to go out, right? So why not let them work less hard than average when there's downtime?

    Sure, if they start to take the piss, and work's not being done and customers are waiting because Angela is instagramming last night's dinner, then maybe you need to start disciplining them. But if it's only during downtime, and they drop the phones when there's stuff to be done, they're still better than most retail employees.
     
  18. Trent

    Trent Froody

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    I don't think that their reactions are that over the top. If management at your company threw a mobile jammer out as a serious option, they need to pull their heads out of their arses :wink: 

    I think that only point you need to bring up is that they are illegal.

    Like someone said earlier, if you have staff on a shop front that experiences a bit of downtime and expect them not to get bored, then you're kidding yourself. As a manager, it's your job to find ways to keep them working while at the same time keeping them interested :) 
     
  19. iamste

    iamste Well-Known Member

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    I dunno, I was a supervisor of a small sainsburys once and my stance on mobile phones was to just not take the piss. As long as the jobs got done and the customers where happy then I didn't have too much of a problem with it.
    There where times people where having full on text marathons behind the tills, in which case I pulled them aside and have them a strike, get three strikes and your phone goes into the safe.

    This method worked for me because at the time I was only about 21/22 and felt like a total hypocrite as I used my phone as well at times, but the staff liked me and only once did I have to pull anyone aside and ask them to chill out on the phone.
     
  20. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    Wow. As if people could manage to work all the time, the whole day. Maybe you and your boss should stop being such tyrants and think of your employees as people.

    I predict productivity will go down in long term, if you restrict your employees like that.

    I'm writing this while I'm at work :p 

    That sounds reasonable!
     
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