In recent years, increased cell-phone usage and dependency have consumed daily life, blurring the lines between work, home, and play. Even at the office, mobile devices stay attached to a person consistently throughout the day. While cell phones have greatly improved the speed of communication and collaboration, they have also changed the workplace atmosphere in subtle ways that can be counterproductive; after all, social etiquette guidelines simply haven’t caught up with the rapid advancements in technology.
We all know the situation: you’re quietly working at your desk and someone is loudly carrying on a phone conversation in the hall outside your door or cubicle for what seems like forever. (Cough, cough! You know who you are, Allen!) Suddenly you are subjected to someone else’s conversation and can’t get any work done. This scenario describes just one of the many common distractions we experience day to day involving cell phones in the office. Instead of being “that person,” follow these cell-phone courtesy tips that will help you be more aware of your own habits.
Five Tips on Cell-Phone Courtesy in the Office:
1. Put the Phone Down: It’s easy to get caught up in a phone call or text chat during the day. When the phone is on hand or within reach, people tend to pick it up every time a notification pops up on the screen. Instead of keeping the phone in your pocket or on your desk, consider placing it in a drawer or in a bag where there is less temptation. This will help you be more productive throughout the day and reserve personal conversations for a more ideal time and place.
2. Consider Your Coworkers: It’s understandable that you get a personal phone call every now and then while at work. Instead of picking up the phone and disturbing your coworkers, be mindful of your surroundings. Take a brief pause before you answer the phone and consider your neighbors. Going to a separate room or stepping outside for a call is a quick fix that will make a world of difference.
3. Keep the Mobile Device Out of the Meeting: When a meeting is occurring, the focus of this time is to listen, learn, and engage. If you’re staring at a phone screen instead of paying attention, you can easily offend other members of your meeting. Checking your phone comes off as rude and portrays a lack of interest in the conversation. Give your full attention and keep the phone out of the meeting room. If it’s not around you, you can’t use it as a distraction.
4. Turn the Ringer Off: Even if you don’t reach for your mobile device multiple times a day, the ringing of a cell phone can still be distracting and confusing. Have you ever been in a situation in which you’re in a room with multiple people, a cell phone rings, and everyone reaches for their own phone? Nowadays so many people are using the same few ringtones, you’re never quite sure who is being called. Save your coworkers some confusion and turn the ringer off or set the phone to vibrate to solve the issue.
5. Find the Right Time: Sometimes life happens, and conversations can get intense or emotional. Before making sensitive calls or getting too emotionally invested in a cell-phone conversation, stop and think about where you are and if this is the best time to talk. Save uncomfortable situations for after work or wait for a break in your day to step out, thus avoiding office tension.
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