So, I admit, I'm a little old fashioned, but when I was young and at work at a food place, we weren't allowed to have pagers on the floor. We weren't allowed to make personal phone calls up front. We were getting paid by the hour, and so when we were on the clock, we were expected to work.
So with texting somehow, my staff doesn't think these same rules apply. They think it's ok to sit there and text while I bust my ass baking, doing dishes, telling them to tidy the front of the house.
Finally, I had enough, and started making snide comments to them about texting. Yes, I know full well this isn't the best behavior. But seriously, I'd like to make an outlaw policy, but my husband says I shouldn't; that I should just let them have their texting. But seriously???
Jack is right they are like kids and will try to get away with it or will do it when your husband is there. nip in in the but now and be the Boss.
Our rule is "phones must be turned off while you're on the clock". This rule is made clear during each new-employee orientation. Most any job will ask the same. You're paying them to be attentive to your customers, not their friends. People caught texting while on the clock at our shop will receive a written warning the first time and be terminated the second time.
On my previous job working at a college library this was always an issue. We had no written rule that they could not text while working so they would run with it. I very often had to get on to them for texting while a patron was standing in front of them waiting. They get so distracted in it they wouldn't notice a mack truck about to run them over.
At my current job, if we aggravate the customers, they find another place to do business. If I buy a coffee and the barista is more interested in his text message then it just puts a bad taste in my mouth. I am pretty easy going as a manager, but if and when I get my business up and going I will be pretty strict on texting.
I think where this grey area originated was that most of my staff doesn't take breaks, so in a way, texting is their little "break". However, even when it's slow, there is ALWAYS something to do. For example, they could help their boss by scooping a few cookies so she can move on to other things that will ultimately increase sales and ultimately increase their tips.
I think it is important to make a strong rule and stick by it. I just have to proceed with caution on how I introduce this rule so it doesn't backfire because I could risk them thinking I'm all of a sudden a hard-ass. My plan is to have a staff meeting and get them behind the goals I have for the bakery. I want the bakery to be the best bakery in Seattle with the best products and great customer service. I can only do this with the best people who are dedicated to their job. They simply can't do this while texting. I am going to force them to take breaks so they can refresh, take some time for themselves, and come back to the excellent customer service we need to move the bakery to the next level.
I DO want to be the boss, and be a strong leader. Thank you for reminding me of this!
As you establish the rule, a parallel effort could be made to list a range of "slow time activities".
This could include scooping cookies, checking the rest room(s) for supplies and cleanliness, wiping tables, cleaning displays, emptying garbage, etc. The list of tasks is endless, as you already know.
I would try to develop a break schedule, where employees must be off the floor, out of customer view and allow calls/texting only during this time.
Reminds me of the saying "if you have time to lean, you have time to clean".
"the oldest guy at the party"