Using your phone at work is often a tempting proposition, but that doesn’t mean it should be done.
Many companies, having felt compelled by the age of the smartphone, have banned them altogether. This means banned— just the sight of a phone can lead to immediate dismissal. Fortunately, most companies are more lenient, simply asking employees to put them on silent, airplane mode, or even vibrate.
This article will discuss tips for how to manage cell phone use while on the job.
Don’t Pick Up Calls
Although it may seem obvious, one should never pick up the phone for personal reasons while at work. If it’s a friend, you can text them to let them know you’re busy. You can alert your boss if there’s an emergency, but otherwise it can wait.
No one should be offended that you let them go to voicemail.
Don’t Play Games or Use Apps
Unless your job revolves around developing or marketing smartphone games or apps, there’s always something else you could be doing on the job that you aren’t when engaging in these distractions. If you’re still in training, try to shadow a co-worker. If you’re more established in your position, you can almost always help in some other regard.
This is not to say that there is no time and place for apps and games, but it should be very limited, particularly when on company hours.
Limit Use During Meetings
Although many take meeting notes on their phone, a phone shouldn’t play a prominent role during a meeting. If you do use your phone to take notes, putting it on airplane mode during the meeting is advisable.
A good rule of thumb for proper phone etiquette during a meeting is estimating the amount of time you’re spending staring at your phone’s screen as opposed to following the speaker. If you’re spending more time on your phone, you should flip the script.
By paying attention during a meeting, you will be more engaged, which leads to higher retention. It also reflects much better upon you if you’re paying full attention.
Feel Free to Use it During Breaks
The best time to use a smartphone on the job is during breaks or lunch periods. Most positions have legally mandated periods during which an employee must take, or have the option of taking, a break. A standard break is usually 15 minutes, while a lunch break can be for 30 minutes, an hour, or even longer.
The one major exception to using your phone during a break is using it during a business lunch. Business lunches should be a time for you to learn from a senior employee at your firm without needless distractions.
If Left On, Don’t Play a Song
The idea behind this is rather simple: if you’re going to leave your phone on during work, make sure it doesn’t play a distracting ringtone.
This means no songs, no catchy melodies. Just keep it as simple as possible, as this will not distract others, while preventing you from being singled out.
No Talking While Flushing
While it can be tempting to return a call in the bathroom, there are a few reasons that one should take caution before doing so.
First of all, you never know who could be listening. If you’re in a stall, those footsteps within the bathroom could be someone you don’t know— or it could be your boss. Whether you’re talking about personal matters, or something more sensitive to the workplace, this is a big no-no.
In addition, you may lose track of time when seated on the toilet. Sustained and continuous trips to the restroom will likely reflect badly upon your work ethic.
Lastly, who wants hear flushing when they’re on the phone? Unless it’s someone whom you’re close to who doesn’t mind the noise, it can come across as uncouth to many.
When it’s all said and done, it’s probably wisest to leave the phone behind while at the workplace. If you do decide to use your phone sparingly while on the job, make sure that it’s done discreetly and that you know your employer’s phone policy.
The latter point is particularly important to make; some firms have a company policy of firing individuals over a single phone infraction.