Smartphone Survival Etiquette: Your Coworkers Versus Your Smartphone
One of the top workplace complaints is that people–especially students–are too obsessed with their gadgets. But consider your own habits before you judge others. Now even the poorest of grad students can afford some sort of smartphone plan and get in on the texting action, which means everyone runs a risk of becoming a gadget-crazed asshole. So, how do you avoid becoming the type of oblivious texthead that everyone loves to hate?
Before texting, determine what is and isn’t important. Smartphones push texts to the front of your screen so you always know what’s up. This can be a huge distraction, especially if some of your friends, relatives and colleagues have textarrhea. So, either disable the smartphone’s setting that pushes texts to the front so that you can go through your texts at your choosing, or put your smartphone out of sight if you’re in a meeting and you’re not waiting for something important to happen.
Image of a smartphone charging in its dock by Adrian Ilie from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.
Leave the room if you must send or receive an electronic missive. Okay, so what if you have the kind of job where you need a smartphone? Or you are worried a family member might need something? Whatever the situation is, it is better to excuse yourself from the room to handle the matter rather than start texting or–even worse–launch a phone conversation in front of your colleagues. It isn’t the best move in the world to walk out of a meeting, but it’s far better than interrupting a meeting with your personal life.
Put your phone on mute, preferably at all times. The beep that announces the arrival of a fresh text isn’t so bad, but it annoys your coworkers if you receive a cascade of texts. As for ringtones, stick with a regular ring, and avoid songs. If you teach, it’s a given that your students will find your ringtone choice uncool. You cannot win. You might not be able to represent a ringtone that captures who you are, but do you want to be known as the “Ice Ice Baby” guy for the rest of the semester?
Next time, some advice on how to keep the smartphone from getting in the way of you and your relationships …