It is undeniable that we and our phones are inseparable. More than a necessity our seemingly smart phones have become an addiction so much so that now it is hard to imagine what our life would be or had been without them. Think of this: what would you be doing right now if not staring at your screens and engaging your thumbs to scroll endlessly? Or, when not on phone chatting up for hours? Or when snap chatting or Instagramming? Can’t even imagine, right?
While it is true that we can’t divorce from our phones, but we should be careful about using them at work. Our phones may be the coolest gadgets, but they may make you seem rather silly. How about giving phone etiquette a read so that you and your gadget don’t become a distraction for either you or your colleagues.
Watch your tone: Don’t we all have this one person at work knocking their lungs out of breath? For all you know it could be you. You talking any louder will not make your voice or message any clearer. And, given the fact that we have open offices, it will bother your colleagues whether or not they tell you. It is up to you to grow out of the habit of talking out loud (even on extensions) or if you can then speak in an even and low tone. However, it is better if you find a meeting room or an open space where you can talk all you want.
Say NO to personal calls: Who wants to know who you’re going for dinner with or how your ill dog is feeling? Quite clearly no one unless you want to announce it to the world. If declining these calls is impossible then head out for a walk. Make the most of your lunch time or chai breaks to return calls. This way you won’t have to worry about you being overheard by eavesdroppers.
Minimize distractions: Do not get distracted when you are speaking with colleagues on phone. Spit the gum, stop playing with paper clips and don’t start reading emails simultaneously because you think you are saving time. The person on the other side of the phone can easily guess when you are really listening to them. Treat them and their time with respect and listen attentively. This is the minimum they expect from you.
During meetings: It is not difficult to spot an inattentive or a distracted person in meeting rooms. Your eyes are the biggest giveaways of your lack of interest and preoccupation with your phone. Here’s what you shouldn’t do.
- Attend calls. If you must then excuse yourself out of the room and then take the call. You cannot take the liberty of picking up the calls and then walking out like you don’t care. You are clearly flouting rules and distracting and annoying rest of the colleagues for whom the meeting matters more than it does to you.
- Chat or browse: Your head is low. Phone is under the table. Or, if you are daring then maybe not. Phone screen light is on. Apparently, others in the meeting don’t want Sherlock’s opinion to tell them that you are disengaged. The only conclusion one can make is that you are on phone. This is extremely disrespectful. In fact, if there are clients then it is even worse. But, congratulations because this behaviour of yours wins you the most annoying employee of the year award!
People first: Imagine: You are talking to a colleague of yours who is sitting right across you or are walking with a bunch of them. You have something important to say for which you need their attention, but unfortunately they are busy and distracted by their phones. Hurts, right? So, if you don’t want this then stop doing this to others. Be courteous; make eye contact, stay involved in the conversation and don’t interrupt just because you got a twitter notification!
Don’t leave your phone unattended
Not for the fear of theft, but because if your phone is not on silent or vibrate mode then the whole office gets to hear your ringtone! And, it can be deafening loud. Start becoming mindful of people at work. They might be engrossed in important work and a small thing as your phone’s ringtone could tick their concentration off. So, once you are in office check your phone and set it to ‘office mode’ with tones customised accordingly.
Oh, and just before signing off, here’s another etiquette to follow: do not carry your phones to bathrooms. Not that you may drop them in the toilet bowl which though is highly likely, but because it’s just not the place! Unfriend your phone for those few minutes.