•  Businesses urged to update phone policy at work

The announcement that the Tory MP Nigel Mills will be investigated by the House of Commons for playing online game Candy Crush during a meeting at work is a warning for companies to update their policies concerning how employees use personal electronic equipment in the workplace, says leading law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The Amber Valley MP was secretly photographed playing the game during a Work and Pensions select committee meeting.

Mr Mills told the newspaper: “It was a long meeting on pension reforms, which is an important issue that I take very seriously.

“There was a bit of the meeting that I wasn’t focusing on and I probably had a game or two.

“I shouldn’t do it but if you check the meeting I would say I was fully engaged in asking questions that I thought were particularly important in how we get the pensions issue right. I shall try not to do it in the future.”

Christopher Tutton, an employment law partner at national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, said:

“Smart phones are ubiquitous in the workplace and this is a timely reminder for companies to update their policies relating to the use of them in work time.

 “Unless there are some reasonable controls in place, companies may experience reduced productivity if employees are habitually using their phones to play games or catch up with social media.

 “Clearly, companies need to take a proportionate approach to the issue. In the first instance it is worth drawing up a policy setting out what standards are required during working hours and drawing it to the attention of your employees. Ultimately, employers can discipline employees and if the conduct is serious or persistent and (assuming that warnings had already been issued) dismissal is a possibility.”

What’s your view? Are mobile games and social media detrimental to productivity? Or should employees be allowed to have a quick game now and then? Let us know in the Comments section below.





Charles Staples is an editorial assistant at HRreview.