Fabuwood, a kitchen cabinet manufacturer in Newark, implemented a policy last May that prohibits the use of phones during meetings. They have installed “device shelves” outside their six conference rooms, and 80 employees have opted for flip phones that the company offers to cover. Despite initial criticism, employees have found that meetings are now more engaging and productive. Company founder Joel Epstein, a long-time flip phone user, was inspired to make this change after observing how smartphones affected his employees. He began an initiative called “InFocus” and found productivity increased by 20% after just six months.
Reactions have varied, with some people believing that they could never switch to a flip phone and others describing it as life-changing. Long-term flip phone users enjoy improved relationships and increased productivity as well. Abraham Brull, a software development manager at Fabuwood, emailed the author about how switching companies to one that encourages healthier technology use had helped him. This change is not just a personal attitude of satisfaction but also a method of improving work performance.