Technological change undoubtedly leads to social change. Just look at how technology has forever altered the way in which we communicate and conduct business: with cell phones, computers and tablets we can now conduct business with anyone at anytime on any continent. The world really is small, after all. However, with mobile communication always at our fingertips, people are forgetting the social standards associated with face-to-face interactions.
You know who you are. For every Respectful Robert there is a Chatty Cathy: that one employee who no matter what task they're completing or who they're in a meeting with, if the cell phone rings, it WILL be answered. It's important to remember therefore that the office is not a place to chat away on your personal phone. It not only distracts you from your work but more importantly your coworkers from theirs. If you've ever been accused of being a Chatty Cathy or told to “get off the phone!” by coworkers, here are a few tips for better cell phone etiquette in the workplace:
Turn the ringer off! If you cannot fathom the idea of turning off your phone, then simply set it to vibrate.
- Never take cell phone calls during a business meeting! This includes interviews and meetings with co-workers or subordinates. If you cannot resist the temptation of the vibration, leave the phone at your desk. Your mind should be focused on work.
- Find a private place to make cell phone calls! It's ok to take calls if you're on break, but if you don't have a private office, then scout for a location where your conversation won't be heard (this does not include the hallway or restroom).
- Allow for calls to go to voicemail! Contrary to popular myth, your phone will not combust if you allow it to go to voicemail. It takes less time and effort to send a call to voicemail than it does to answer and say you'll call back at a better time.
All of these tips will ultimately help polish your professional image in the eyes of your coworkers and potential clients. So next time the cell phone rings, Cathy, think twice before answering!