When Technology Strikes: Etiquette for the Digital Age
Posted by Anni M.
Most of the time, we think of technology as a boon to business. It’s true: we can do so much more so much faster. We can share documents, create incredible multimedia presentations, and interact instantaneously from wherever we may be. We can use our handheld devices as personal navigators, calendars, encyclopedias, and cheerleaders (motivational apps are all the rage these days!) But sometimes all that technology gets in the way of productivity or communication. How many times have you been interrupted by an incoming text or phone call? How often do you feel like you need to check your email at the expense of a project that demands your full concentration? It happens all the time, every day, all day long. It’s hard enough concentrating in a cubicle without iPhone Tetris calling your name. So how much is too much? Where do we draw the line?
Turn Off Your Cell Phone in the Office
When you’re working at your desk with your landline office phone sitting right next to you, there is no reason to have your cell phone armed and at the ready. It’s not enough just to turn off the sound. You can still pick it up and, with a quick flick of the finger, check the weather in Malta. Turn it off and avoid the distraction all together. Not only will it keep people from contacting you while you’re trying to work, it will keep you from contacting them. Concentrate on what really matters.
Face-to-Face Should Always Come First
I’m sick of people giving technology preferential treatment over the people in their actual physical vicinity. If you get a call, email, text, or voicemail while you’re in the middle of a conversation, ignore it. It won’t go anywhere and the person you’re talking to will appreciate your full attention. Respect your co-workers and they will respect you.
If a Person is Within Walking Distance, Don’t Email Her
It’s tempting to send an email to a co-worker but unless you’re really in the middle of something critical, try getting up and walking over to where they sit. Not only will you give yourself a little mid-day exercise, you’ll be showing your co-worker respect. Plus, you won’t be giving her yet another email to respond to during her undoubtedly busy day. Save email for long-distance communication. Part of working productively is working with people. Social skills atrophy when you don’t use them. I think this is one of the most dangerous and damaging consequences of our email obsessed business culture.
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs..