Mobile phones are such a wonderful, useful boon to humanity; they have made money look silly, distance no barrier and world truly a global village.
But the problems posed by mobile technology are also equally mind-boggling! While courts, legislative wings of governments, UGC, universities and college managements -and good many companies- have been ruthless in drawing lines for their use on their campuses, educational institutions are still grappling with its implementation. While many of those have no issues in implementing because they mean rules and discipline, a few are still dragging their feet; their rule books say ‘mobiles should be put off; else, if confiscated, will not be returned’, the authorities shy away from implementing, sending wrong, ambiguous signals to their publics. How far do we fool ourselves?
Here is -seemingly- the latest media company putting its foot down! No non-sense, please!
MUMBAI: Come 1 April, all the employees of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) will have to keep off their personal mobile phones during office hours. And this is not an April fool joke! In an internal mail to all the Esselites, the HR has conveyed that mobile phones, personal or official, will not be permitted on office premises starting 1 April. All employees have been advised to leave their mobiles in their car or at the entrance with security. “Team members having their own cars are encouraged to leave their respective mobile phones in their cars before entering office. A provision to store mobile phones at security on entrance shall be made at all offices for team members using public transport to commute to work,” read the email. As per the mail, a copy of which is with TelevisionPost.com, “It is often noticed that all team members get distracted on their mobile phones during meetings, thereby reducing productivity and attention span besides getting distracted also by personal calls, which reduces their effectiveness.” Instead, the company has emphasised using the IP-based landline phones (Ekbhas). “The idea behind implementation of Ekbhas is to make communication across group companies more productive, convenient, and cost effective by reducing travel for internal meetings and reducing mobile phone usage and costs associated with these. It is noticed that the system is not being used to its full potential. There are hardly any voice calls, let alone video calls, in the system.” All team members have been advised to forward their calls from their official mobile phones to their respective landline extensions before entering the office. “It is recommended to make your Ekbhas phone your one-stop number, even when you leave office, you can transfer Ekbhas calls to your mobile phone,” the letter said. Moreover, the company has asked all team members to answer all calls with their company name. “Rather than just saying ‘Hello’, team members should answer by saying ‘Hello, Zee TV’ or ‘Hello, Essel Infra’ as the case may be,” the letter added. Expecting resistance from the staff, the mail read, “It may be difficult to adapt to this change as it is difficult to adopt any change in life but we firmly believe that this will go a long way in improving the productivity and effectiveness of all individuals and therefore the companies and Essel Group that we all work for.” Almost all ZEEL employees who we contacted expressed their dismay over the step. “I don’t know how practical this is. In a media company where we are always supposed to get in touch with and converse with so many people, how the management expects employees to follow such a process?” one employee said. Another disgruntled employee added that in case he is not in his seat, or attending a meeting, how his colleagues are expected to reach him, or vice versa. “This is not a call-centre and we do not deal with sensitive data. Why all this?” Another employee added that at present there is a shortage of workstations, let alone enough landlines. Privacy is another concern for some employees, as the calls made from the IP-based extensions can be screened/recorded. A senior ZEEL executive said on condition of anonymity, “This initiative is a step backwards.” However, when asked, ZEEL human resource head Rajendra Mehta said, “The system is very efficient and it will only increase productivity. People have apprehensions because there is a change in the way they have worked so far. They may resist initially, but we certainly believe that it’s a good system. It’s definitely a progressive step.” He added that the current system gives the employees all the facilities to remain connected with the external world. “This step is also important from security perspective. These systems actually help the organisation. It will go a long way to help them maintain work-life balance.”