Of distracted maids who can’t put phones down…

By Kwach Wakhisi
Wednesday, April 7th, 2021
Photo/Distracted maids.
In summary
    • Psychologists agree that cell phone addiction is a workplace epidemic.
    • A whopping 55 per cent of employers consider smartphone addiction to be the biggest killer of workplace productivity. Indeed, the closer an employee’s phone is to them while they work, the harder it is for them to concentrate.
    • More companies each year are either banning the use of cell phones at work or implementing policies and methods to control the use of cell phones.

There’s time for everything, but then some fail to draw the line. Such is the case of some housegirls who spend too much time on their phones, thus neglecting their duties.

Over the past decade, phones have revolutionised our lives in ways that go well beyond how we communicate.

Besides calling, texting, and emailing, more than two billion people around the world now use these devices to navigate, to bank, to book cab rides, to compare product reviews and prices, to follow news, to watch movies, to listen to music, to play video games, and, not least of all, social media.

But despite the good side of it, there is also the downside whereby too much of the little gadget can lead to problems.

A growing body of research is highlighting the various drawbacks of overusing cell phones and other mobile devices.

One of them is how it has led to distracted employees. Distracted workers are unproductive.

A CareerBuilder survey found that hiring managers believe employees are extremely unproductive, and more than half of those managers believe smartphones are to blame.

Some employers said smartphones degrade the quality of work, lower morale, interfere with the boss-employee relationship and cause employees to miss deadlines.

Major concern

 But there is a group of people in our homes whose a little distraction and the family will have overcooked or burnt food, or chores will be left unattended, or a baby will cry for hours or worse still, chock on food— house helps.

These domestic managers end up neglecting their household duties, performing less of what they are required to do in a day.

Naomi Kago, parent. 

“My phone is usually close to me even when I am performing my duties, which is fairly typical of everyone who owns a mobile phone, so as not to miss out on an important call. However, that doesn’t mean I spend the entire day on it.

I know I have duties that I have to perform in a day and I can only spend much time on my phone once I’m done so as not to risk losing my job, which I depend on,” says Mercy Naliaka, a mother of two who has worked as a house help for over 10 years.

“It is true that many housegirls have ended up losing their jobs because of spending too much on their phones and even neglecting their duties.

This is so wrong and unfair because when you are hired, your employer entrusts you with her household, which you have to keep in order at all times,” she adds.

Naomi Kago, a mother of three children aged five, four and two says the issue of housegirls spending too much time on their mobile phones  is a major concern for many employers, especially those with children below the age of two years.

“Personally, I have had helps who feel that their phone is the most important thing for them and they forget what brought them to my house.

I find it quite unfair when one spends a whole hour or several hours on the phone while they are not done with the household chores,” says Kago.

“I believe there is time for everything. I don’t have any issue if one will complete their work on time then spend some time on their phone, perhaps catching up with their family or friends.

But the issue of waking up and the first thing you do is to spend time on your phone is totally wrong,” she adds.

Since her children are all below the age of five, Kago knows they require attention, hence they need to be with someone who will listen and attend to them when need arises.

She offers: “I am sure that a bigger percentage of househelps who spend too much time on their phones don’t even last a month into their jobs.

I used to have a woman who could wake up to her calls and at the end of the day, you would find that she had only completed half of the tasks you assigned to her.

At that time, I didn’t have a school-going child, hence she could wake up, prepare breakfast, go outside the house and sit on a particular stone where she could make calls after calls up to 12 noon.

I got confused and even wondered about all the credit she was using to make the calls. I mean, how do you make a call that lasts for two hours non-stop?

I warned her about the behaviour, but she didn’t change the habit. I guess she valued the calls so much than her work. I had to let her go.”

Unacceptable behaviour

Marion Wanjiru Mwangi, a mother of two, says she hasn’t personally encountered this experience, but her mum has. “My mum had a househelp who was always on phone.

I even felt like firing her on her behalf. Even when you spoke to her, she couldn’t hear since her concentration was on the phone. She would do things hurriedly just to be on phone.

Such kind of behaviour is unacceptable and makes many of them lose their jobs,” says Marion.

According to Susan Catherine Keter, househelps who spend too much time online or on their phones only to end up neglecting their duties have deeper issues, and not valuing and respecting their work tops the list.

“Imagine a scenario whereby you were to take a flight to some destination only for the pilot to fail to turn up because he or she is busy online and forgot his or her duties.

You are scheduled for a surgical operation only for the surgeon to fail to turn up because he or she is busy online. That shows you all jobs demand attention,” says Keter.

“The worldwide web is a wealth of information and if used well can transform people’s lives.

A focused individual uses time online productively and does not neglect his/her responsibilities.

The mobile phone is just a tool, like a computer, a car, a blow dryer, an elevator, a nail cutter, among others. A tool makes our work easier hence one needs to put it into proper use,” she adds.

Trending Posts