Employers struggle to get millennials to put cellphones away

90-percent of millennials have cellphones

Many millennials have never known a world without mobile devices. Now employers are forced to deal with younger workers who want to be able to text and use social media on the job. Danielle Martin has been with State Bank Financial for three years, but the 22-year-old has been with a mobile device for even longer.

“Since I was probably 11,” Martin said.

When Martin is at work, dealing with costumers and sorting money, her cellphone is never far.

“It’s always by my side; I get nervous when it’s not by me,” she said.

She’s not alone. According to a Nielsen study, 86 percent of adults ages 18-28 have a cellphone, and those personal devices can become a distraction at work.

“A five-second conversation could easily turn into a five-minute conversation when there is other work to be done, and that’s tough to manage,” said Wayne Oliver, the executive vice president at State Bank Financial.

Executives at the La Crosse bank allow employees to have cellphones with them, to a point.

“If their work is being done, if they are greeting their customers appropriately, and there is nothing else for them to do at that point in time, because sometimes there is down time,” Oliver said.

La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce officials said more area business are forming stricter guidelines.

“It’s either you are doing it as your work requirement or it’s not accepted, because once you get into the gray area, it has the possibility of being abused,” said Vicki Markussen, the executive director of the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce.

While her job doesn’t involve much social media, Martin said her comfort with mobile devices has helped work situations.

“We have our state bank app, where if a customer has a question about it I can pull out my phone show how it works, and that’s something that they can understand,” she said.

Cellphone use can also be a deal-breaker for the employees themselves. According to a study by Mobiliron, 60 percent of millennials would quit if their boss prevented them from using their cellphones for personal tasks.