Smartphone use not so clever in meetings: Survey

Guidelines, policies around use should be established

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Smartphones, laptops and tablets have enabled employees to be more productive and stay connected but they also cause unnecessary disruptions in the workplace and during meetings, according to a recent survey.

An Intel poll of 224 human resource managers across the United States conducted by Ipsos showed that 42 per cent have received a complaint about an employee's use of mobile technology at work.

Nearly 80 per cent said they thought the gadgets could hinder productivity and 85 per cent said companies should establish guidelines for the use of mobile technology in the workplace.

"A lot of etiquette comes down to how you choose to do it, how you choose to say it, how to you choose to use," said etiquette expert Anna Post.

The biggest etiquette offenses cited in the poll were mobile phones ringing during a meeting or presentation and workers checking emails or surfing the Internet.

"Even just checking an email that is off topic is obnoxious to people," said Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and author of the 18th edition of Emily Post's Etiquette.

Like many of the HR managers in the poll she believes company guidelines could go a long way in reducing disruptions caused by the inappropriate use of mobile technology.

She suggested companies put mobile phone manners on the agenda and institute what she calls the 50-10 rule during meetings — a 10-minute break during every hour-long meeting or presentation to check emails and make telephone calls.

Post also said during meetings people should be asked to turn off devices and to minimize laptop windows not related to the topic.

"You need to take responsibility for yourself and do these things on your own," said Post. "When management can come up with policy, all the better."

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