Poor gadget manners in the workplace increasing: Survey

5 types of offenders and tips for rehabilitation
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 02/18/2010

The use of gadgets such as smartphones may make employees more productive, but texting during meetings and talking on cellphones in public spaces at work can be disrespectful to co-workers, according to a new survey.

In the survey by staffing firm Robert Half Technology, 42 per cent of 270 chief information officers (CIOs) polled have seen an increase in poor workplace etiquette resulting from more frequent use of mobile electronic devices. Only nine per cent said they have seen a decrease in poor workplace etiquette and 49 per cent said there has been no change.

"Electronic gadgets have facilitated increased productivity amongst employees, but they may also cause interruptions in the workplace," said Megan Slabinski, president of Robert Half Technology's Canadian operations. "Although tech etiquette protocols vary by business, it's a sound decision to offer your undivided attention whenever collaborating with colleagues."

Robert Half Technology identified five types of tech-etiquette offenders:

1. The Misguided Multitasker. This person thinks emailing or texting during a meeting or conversation demonstrates efficiency. But others may regard it as a sign he prizes his BlackBerry more than the company he keeps. Unless you want to create potential animosity at work, use your handheld device only in an urgent situation and step out of the room to reply.

2. The Email Addict. This person relies on a constant stream of emails, instant messages or texts to communicate all of her needs, often thinking it will save time. But excessive messaging, particularly regarding trivial things, can be inefficient and disruptive. Often a phone call or in-person discussion can resolve issues more quickly.

3. The Broadcaster. This person has no shame when it comes to using his cellphone anytime, anywhere — including open office halls and the public restroom — to discuss anything. When using your cellphone in common areas, it's not only disrespectful but also potentially off-putting to others. Keep private conversations limited to private places.

4. The Cyborg. Rare is the chance you see this person without the blinking glow of a Bluetooth headset or iPod earbud nestled in her ear. Keeping a wireless earpiece or headphones constantly plugged in signals to others who may need to speak to you that your attention is not available. Show that you are accessible to your colleagues by using earpieces in the office with discretion and consideration for those around you.

5. The Distractor. This person may have good intentions in setting his phone to vibrate rather than torturing colleagues with a cheesy ringtone, but hearing it repeatedly buzz loudly on a desktop or during a meeting can be just as distracting. A better solution: Set your phone to silent or keep it in your pocket.

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