As our iPhones, Androids, Blackberries and a host of other hand-held “offices” continue to invade our lives, basic rules and etiquette around their usage becomes more important.
There is no doubt that independent contractors benefit from always “being connected” as
you can stay in touch with clients, projects and recruiters without being shackled to the office. However, setting some limits will ensure that you are effectively managing your usage and limiting the impact to those around you.
Smartphones are extremely disruptive in meetings. How many times do you see the people around you looking intently at their kneecap, and all of a sudden their attention is absolutely somewhere else? It’s rude, creates the perception that the other people in the meeting are not valued and a lack of focus wastes their time.
At the very minimum, devices should be set to silent. Even when on vibrate, they can be heard going off and those around you will notice your body language change every time it happens.
It’s very impolite to leave your phone on the table during a meal. Leave it holstered, turn it off or turn it to silent. Do not take calls or look at emails unless there is some emergency brewing, in which case, it’s courteous to state that up front and excuse yourself to take the call privately.
At Home and on holiday
Unless you are the President of the United States, or some equally important person, there is absolutely no reason to need 24 hours access to email while you are on “personal time”.
Very often, it’s important to know what is going on, so it’s fine to keep in touch. However, constant checking for emails or typing while on the beach or out on tour or when you and your family are “relaxing” isn’t necessary. It sets a bad example for the kids, it’s rude to those around you and it impedes your ability to have fun!
Smartphones are a great tool and most of us today would be lost without them. It’s still, however, important to understand and abide by the rules of etiquette with your phone, whether you’re on a client site, meeting with a recruiter, or spending time with family and friends. Do you have any pet peeves about people act with their phones?