Mobile phone etiquette: are you the “E-mail Addict”, “Misguided Multitasker” or “Cyborg”?

Another day gives us with another report… honestly the only report that I would like is from the carriers “reliability” tests to honestly see who is really the “most reliable”.

In the meantime Robert Half Technology (recruiters) has surveyed 270 Canadian CIOs who have over 100 employees and asked them: “In your opinion, what effect has the increased use of mobile electronic gadgets – such as cell phones, smartphones, handheld devices and laptops – had on workplace etiquette in the past three years? Have the number of breaches in workplace etiquette increased, decreased or remained the same?

The study found:
Increased significantly: 18%
Increased somewhat: 24%
Remained the same: 49%
Decreased somewhat: 4%
Decreased significantly: 2%
Don’t know/no answer: 3%

So there you have it… 49% of the 270 CIO stated things have “remained the same”. We are still addicted to our smartphones, checking e-mails constantly while in meetings and sleeping with our devices next to our bed. A couple years ago the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) published “Mobilizing Your Common Sense: Cell Phone and PDA Etiquette”… which I’m sure needs an update. The folks at Robert Half have come up with their “five types of tech-etiquette offenders” and solutions to ensure you won’t be one of them.

1. The Misguided Multitasker. This person thinks that e-mailing or texting during a meeting or conversation demonstrates efficiency. But others may regard it as a sign he prizes his BlackBerry more than the company he keeps. Unless you want to create potential animosity at work, use your handheld device only in an urgent situation and step out of the room to reply.

2. The E-mail Addict. If you’ve ever played e-mail tag with a colleague, you’ve likely encountered this person. She relies on a constant stream of e-mails, instant messages or texts to communicate all of her needs, often thinking it will save time. But excessive messaging, particularly regarding trivial things, can be inefficient and disruptive. Often a phone call or in-person discussion can resolve issues more quickly.

3. The Broadcaster. This person has no shame when it comes to using his cell phone anytime, anywhere – including open office halls and the public restroom – to discuss anything. When using your cell phone in common areas, it’s not only disrespectful but also potentially off-putting to others. Keep private conversations limited to private places.

4. The Cyborg. Rare is the chance you see this person without the blinking glow of a Bluetooth headset or iPod earbud nestled in her ear. Keeping a wireless earpiece or headphones constantly plugged in signals to others who may need to speak to you that your attention is not available. Show that you are accessible to your colleagues by using earpieces in the office with discretion and consideration for those around you.

5. The Distractor. This person may have good intentions in setting his phone to vibrate rather than torturing colleagues with a cheesy ringtone, but hearing it repeatedly buzz loudly on a desktop or during a meeting can be just as distracting. A better solution: Set your phone to silent or keep it in your pocket.