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I am getting a lot of push back from my guys on this one. They all say that if an emergency happens, the cell phone is how their spouses need to get a hold of them. They all say that they need to answer the phone to make sure nothing is wrong and then rejoin the meeting. One person did have a case where his wife and 2 kids got into a serious wreck during work (everyone was OK, but they did have to go to the hospital). Now, they all feel that if I do the fruit bowl meeting, then they would not have found out about the wreck till an hour later.

I am not sure how to handle this.

Thanks!

Gary

rwwh's picture

How were emergencies handled 10 years ago? I guess in the era before the cell phone, the spouse-in-need would call the company front desk. Would a solution like that still work? Probably.

Alternatively, you can also let people make the appointment with their spouse that if they are in a meeting, calls will not be answered, unless they call 3 times in a row. That requires the additional discipline not to look at the phone when it is vibrating unless it is the third time in 2 minutes.

 

 

Smacquarrie's picture

 I have to agree with RWWH. Just a few years ago this would not have been an issue. To make a standard out of an exception helps to promote the idea that the individual is more important than the group. Focus on the positive while down playin the negative of this situation. Use the fruit bowl and bring up how much more productive the time was without unnecessary interruptions. 

Jrlz's picture

If your employees were in a 1 hour meeting with a customer would it be acceptable for them to take a phone call? Of course not, it is equally unacceptable to take a call during a meeting.  Or how about if they were at the dentist?  Are they answering thier phone while on the chair in the dental office? I would suspect no.  How about when they are in the shower?  On a jog? You get my drift.  It is mindset. 

The one exception I would forsee is if an employees spouse were pregnant and due at any moment.  Then it is acceptable to take the call.  In such a case they should inform you up front of the situation.

 

 

bikefitter's picture

In our family, during "business hours" ALL and ONLY direct calls are urgencies.  All daytime contacts otherwise are texts requesting a return call.  Real emergency calls go to admin as they have better knowledge of my immediate whereabouts and deeper connections at those locations to have me urgently interrupted.  Might not be for all, but for us it works and acknowledges that we all have schedules with important moments deserving respect. 

rwwh's picture

 Excellent system, bikefitter.  But the texts will still be diverting your attention away from the meeting, and so will non-urgent business calls.

KevinHanks's picture

I really think that the argument that your "spouse must be able to get ahold of you at any moment" is a weak one. Understanding that issues do happen and sometimes a family member does legitimately need to contact someone for help, turn the issue around and look at it from the spouse's perspective. Something happens and you try calling your spouse, who doesn't immediately answer their cell phone, and you really need to get ahold of them. What do you do? Give up? Yeah right. You call again, then again, then you try their buddy who sits in the cubicle or office next to them. Then you try their boss, then the admin, then the front desk.  It won't take long and you can and will get ahold of someone who can get a message to your spouse. 

The point is, it's a weak excuse, and most likely just a convenient one people will use to try and keep their little electronic tools of distraction. As a side note... make sure your spouse has the number for your buddy, your boss, the admin, and the front desk!

fchalif's picture

We have implemented the fruit bowl, actually a white cardboard box, without a hitch. I recommend to team members that they put their phones on silent and configure the phone if they want, to ring if the number calling is their spouse.

Frankie

fchalif's picture

We have implemented the fruit bowl, actually a white cardboard box, without a hitch. I recommend to team members that they put their phones on silent and configure the phone if they want, to ring if the number calling is their spouse.

Frankie