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Electronic Etiquette: The Proper Ways to Use Your Gadgets & Devices At Work
Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The use of personal technology is unavoidable as it continues to trail blaze in the mobile direction. People carrying out multiple devices on them is become increasingly common, and because of of the widespread use of these personal devices in public spaces, it's necessary for places like movie theaters and libraries to put signs up instructing people to turn the sound off on their cell phones. Imagine how disturbing it would be if everyone had their phones going off throughout a movie or while you're trying to read. These kinds of distractions disrupt workplace productivity and put you on someone's wrong side. 

Since offices don't put up signs advising you of proper electronic etiquette, they probably assume that you're already aware of the unwritten etiquette rules. Here are some of the basics you should have down in the office or anywhere for that matter:

1) Convey messages using one method.
One message needs only one way to get across. You can easily overdo it by sending an email followed by a voicemail regarding the same issue. This is very annoying for the recipient because it will seem excessive. You can make it known that the matter is urgent without having to contact them several times in several ways. Give them a chance to reply before making a second attempt.

2) Using speakerphone openly around others.
Out of common consideration for your co-workers you don't want to conduct a call or listen to a voicemail out loud which might disturb them. You also want to respect the privacy of the person on the other line. Even in a closed room, speakerphone noise can still reach beyond those walls. person otherwise.

3) Checking your cellphone during meetings.
Your full attention is especially important during a meeting as the point of meetings are to provide you with information essential to the job. Looking at your phone will give the impression that you're bored and not engaged with what's going on. If you're expecting an important call, be sure to make that known before or at the beginning of the meeting so that people don't think you're being rude.

4) Making calls that are noisy on your end.
Calling someone when you're in a noisy place will make it tough for the person on the other end to hear you. The person you call is going to wonder why you called them in such distracting circumstances. No one wants to receive a phone call where the caller is just going to put them on hold or when both have to constantly repeat themselves. Choose a time when you'll be able to devote your undivided attention in a quiet space.

5) Using "reply all" unnecessarily.
As a rule of thumb, you should address your emails to those whom your message concerns. If in an email chain, and you want to tell someone "thanks" then make sure you only reply to that one person. Others won't appreciate mail in their inbox that is not intended for them.

6) Have a clean email signature.
Your email signature should not include any religious or political message as it will have potential to ruffle some feathers. A neutral demeanor at work will keep you from getting on people's bad sides and not add to the obstacles in your career.

7) Keeping your work and personal email separate.
Sending the occasional personal email from your work email is fine but using that as your primary email is not a good idea. Personal use of your work email on a regular basis will cause problems later on down the road. Better to keep all personal matters, especially emails, separate from anything work related.