Are mobile apps creating a HR headache?

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Social media and messaging apps are creating workplace disruptions due to the inability to monitor work-related chat without being too invasive.

Research conducted by Speakap, a B2B social network, found that 53% of employees have stated that they use social messaging applications such as WhatsApp up to six times during a working day. In addition to that a further 16% said that their company’s HR department and managers were unaware of such messaging.

In terms of the legal point of view, new GDPR laws came into effect in May 2018 and due to this many businesses created laws which meant that employees were banned from using messaging apps during work hours. An example of this is Deutsche Bank who has banned the use of WhatsApp and Snapchat in its offices as it could lead to a severe breach of GDPR laws.

Applications such as WhatsApp and Snapchat are considered as more dangerous in terms of a breach of GDPR laws due to the encryption. Each of these apps use end-to-end encryption which means that only the people involved in the message are able to view it, and those outside of the message are unable to see what has been said. This type of encryption is considered so secure that it is reported that members of the White House have even used similar apps to circulate important information.

Whilst GDPR addresses the issue of privacy and security it does not solve the problem of the ‘always on’ mentality. This is because advancing technologies have enabled employees to be contactable 24/7 which depending on your point of view is either a good or a bad thing, creating in some circumstances a poor ‘work-life’ balance. In terms of ‘work-life’ balance it is apparent that a large proportion of employees (64%) use their personal phones for both work and personal life, which creates confusion over what hours an employee is meant to be contactable.

The problem with ‘grazing’ culture

Whilst most employees have the respect of the workplace values, others can often take advantage when it comes to technology. It is obvious that having mobiles, laptops and iPads can offer huge benefits to businesses and can also help with workplace discussions, however sometimes employees take advantage of an employer’s leniency and eventually it creates problems for the business.

Elon Musk was recently in the news and caused some level of controversy after he decided to send an email to all Tesla employees at 1:20am on a Friday night stating the potentially life changing news that their jobs may be at risk. Whether his actions were intentional or not, the issue has highlighted the effect that technology has had within business as it is considered normal to be checking work emails outside of operating hours.

Razali Salleh conducted a study that discovered approximately 13.4 million lost working days were due to stress, anxiety and depression last year, with an estimated 265,000 new cases of stress being reported within the last year.

One of the major health implications that increasing use of technology has been linked with is the breakdown of personal relationships and a reduced skill of communication. A recent survey found that adults aged between 31 to 40 found that using their personal device to check emails and work messages outside of the office does not have an effect on their personal relationships, whilst the majority of their partners thought the opposite.

If you have issues with apps in your business or have any questions with regards to this article then please do not hesitate to contact a member of the oneHR team:


Phone: 0845 509 6854

Tweet: @oneHR_

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