Worker's Revenge On Boss Demanding No Personal Phones In Office Applauded

An IT cybersecurity worker has been applauded for following their boss's strict rules demanding no personal phones be used in the office.

There is evidence to suggest smartphones represent a major distraction in the workplace.

A 2020 survey conducted by digital wellness initiative Screen Education estimates the average employee is spending 2.5 hours each work day accessing digital content unrelated to their job.

However, many still object to the idea of being denied access to their smartphone device during the working day.

That was certainly the case for one IT worker who took to Reddit to voice his displeasure and detail how they were able to have the last laugh on the boss.

An angry man and no phones sign.
Stock images of a man and woman arguing and a no smartphone sign. A boss's insistence on "no personal phones at work" ended up backfiring spectacularly. dusanpetkovic/furtaev/Getty

According to the post, which was shared under the handle u/MrWacko, much of his work involves "big multi-factor authentication" i.e. authentication mobile apps designed to be used as part of a two-factor password system.

"Basically every system or software requires a phone to access," he said. According to the post, under the company's current rules, phones are only supplied to workers "sufficiently far up the leadership chain."

That created something of a problem when their boss sent down a directive telling him "personal device use at work is not permitted" while "specifically" citing mobile phones.

At this point, the worker could have pointed out that personal phone use was crucial to much of their work. Instead they simply opted to "comply with the directive" sparking chaos in the office as the IT department attempted to switch everything over to desktop computers.

Acknowledging his actions as an example of "malicious compliance" the post drew a strong response on social media with many users full of praise for his actions.

Techn0ght felt the boss "should learn to ask informed people before making decisions." Coventry27, meanwhile, concluded: "Most Bosses are wise, some are otherwise. Your Boss is the latter."

Elsewhere, Squishy_dogg concluded: "Every time a boss tries messing with a company who specializes in technology it never ends well."

Though many felt passionately about the post, Dvir Ben Aroya Co-Founder & CEO of business messaging platform Spike felt there were "valid reasons" for implementing a mobile ban.

"Mobile phones can be a significant source of distraction for employees, reducing productivity, and increasing the likelihood of mistakes," he told Newsweek.

"Personal mobile phones can pose a security risk to the organization, particularly in industries where sensitive or confidential information is shared or stored."

"In some workplaces, the use of mobile phones can be a safety hazard, such as in construction sites, manufacturing plants, and other industrial settings," Aroya added.

"The use of mobile phones in the workplace can also affect the professionalism of employees, particularly if they are using their devices to access social media or personal email accounts."

However, he did acknowledge that there were notable downsides to banning smart phones.

"Many employees may feel that a ban on personal mobile phones in the workplace is an invasion of their personal freedom and can create a negative working environment," he said. "Furthermore, employees may argue that they need their phones to stay connected to family members or in case of emergency situations."

He concluded that ultimately it was crucial to "carefully consider the potential impact of a ban on personal mobile phones" before moving forward. "If the employer does choose to implement such a policy, they should communicate it clearly and effectively to their employees, explaining the reasons for the policy and what the consequences of non-compliance may be."

Newsweek reached out to u/MrWacko for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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