Obviously there are some workplaces where using a cell phone is never appropriate. When I worked at a daycare we had to turn our cell phones in to our boss every morning, because it’s just never okay to be texting when you should be keeping Timmy from painting on the walls and running with scissors. However, many jobs exist in that delightful gray area where it’s okay to send a text or two, or perhaps take a quick call to discuss dinner plans. How much is too much, though? Here are a few pointers for keeping your cell phone use in check, without being incommunicado all day long.
Do limit your use of purely recreational phone time (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblrs of puppies doing people things), or eliminate it altogether except for break time. In general, things that are not time-sensitive and not work related should be saved for home.
Do set a time limit on how long you can spend checking your e-mail, sending texts, etc. It’s too easy for a quick check of your e-mail to become 20 minutes down the drain. Check the clock before you pick up your phone and five minutes later get back to work.
Don’t take a call/send a text in front of your boss- unless you’re on break or it’s for a previously discussed extenuating circumstance (e.g. you’re waiting for the delivery of your new pet parrot from South America and you’ll have to go pick it up at the pet store the minute it arrives).
Same thing applies for clients, except that you should be even more conservative.
Do make your phone work for you. If your meeting group is trying to decide where to host a conference, feel free to use that snazzy iPhone to look up venue pricing, catering costs, and conferencing best practices.
Do give preference to text/email over phone calls. It’s much less distracting to answer a quick text than it is to leave your desk to answer a phone call.
Don’t answer a phone call at your desk. Take it to a place you won’t be disturbing your co-workers. Everyone hates listening to half of a phone conversation- even if they’re very curious about the arrival—and legality—of your pet parrot.
Do keep your eyes and ears open. Are you the only one who keeps their phone on their desk during the day? Did Anne Droid get a warning last week for playing Angry Birds all morning?
Pay attention to the climate of your office, adjust to these rules accordingly….and then Tweet me @ithinkther4iamb about which phone habits annoy you the most at work or talk about it in the comments! #Phonepas
*No parrots were harmed in the writing of this blog post.
IMAGE: Courtesy of West Sound Workforce