Login Now to remove this and all advertisements (GOLD and SILVER members)
Not a member? Register Now for free

Mobile Phone Etiquette / Conventions at Work

Status
Not open for further replies.

anat0l

Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
11,672
Points
10
I thought this deserved a thread of its own (I guess I'm not high on boosting TOTT now that it's beaten the infamous Amex thread :rolleyes:).

At work, what rules/etiquette/expectations/conventions/etc. do you follow in the use of your mobile phone? This includes:
  • Do you change your phone to silent/shaking when you arrive at work, or do you use a profile with a less corny ringtone, or must you switch it off?
  • Do you carry a mobile with you at work (or must you leave it in a secure place)?
  • What are your "rules" about taking calls at work (personal or work-related)? Do you step outside to take a call? Does a work conversation override answering an incoming personal call?

I guess this is also a general thread to gripe about the devices, or others' mobiles, or how we all use them.


For me,
  • I turn my phone to shake-only at work, no ringtone. However, during seminars I usually switch it offline or turn it off.
  • I usually leave my phone at my desk (charging) unless I'm going to be away from it for a while.
  • I usually try and take all calls outside. Although I could take work calls at my desk, I sit in an open area and speaking at a loud enough volume seems to still be a bit too disruptive IMO (albeit I've never asked). A shame, though, because outside faces a couple of main roads in the uni, which makes it hard of hearing when a courier truck squeals by.
    This isn't a problem for the staff who have an office, although some will also go outside or head to the lounge.
  • If I'm in a conversation, I usually don't interrupt someone to take any calls, except from family.
  • We're all pretty well behaved at uni/work, so the use of mobiles has never come up as an issue all around. Pretty unique? Well, tell us about your workplace......
 

thewinchester

Established Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2006
Messages
1,781
Points
10
At work, what rules/etiquette/expectations/conventions/etc. do you follow in the use of your mobile phone?
Because of some lacklustre IT infrastructure, I use a few services which put me in front of the information curve should any of the externally provided services we use go south. These send me emails and text message alerts when things do go wrong.

Having a personal mobile phone also gives me some redundancy, because you never know when things are going to fail around the office and I like knowing I've got a device to hand which allows me to at least manage when things stop and stay 'in the loop'.

My personal rules about mobile phones:

  1. Personal calls should be taken outside the building, your colleagues shouldn't need the distraction of your personal business.
  2. The whole office doesn't need to hear your pretentious ring tones and message alerts - set it to vibrate and screen your calls. If they can't be bothered to leave a message, its not important enough to worry about.
  3. If you're expecting an important call and it comes in, make a point of politely excusing yourself and explain why if reasonable.
  4. Keep it quiet - and this goes for anywhere, including transport, taxis, and the QP. People six tables away don't need to hear your weekend happenings.
  5. There are some places a phone was never meant to be used - turn it off or throw it in flight mode. These places include:
    1. On board an aircraft, and god help any carrier who allows this to happen in the future.
    2. Funerals, churches and other solemn occasions.
    3. Cinemas, theatres, playhouses, school halls.
    4. Toilets (please don't answer mobiles in there unless its an end of the world important conversation).
    5. When on the move in crowds - you can't concentrate on two things at once on a good day and all you'll do is hold everyone else up.
That's my 0.02c ex-GST.
 

jas

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2008
Messages
105
Points
10
Everyone's answering a call on their Blackberry.

All day.

I'm probably one of the better ones. If I step away from my desk to talk to someone, my phones (yes, plural. Personal one and work one) tend to stay at my desk. There's not usually anyone who can't wait ten minutes for me to return a call.

I probably should put my phones on silent, but don't usually bother. I don't get enough calls in a day to make it an issue (text messages on my personal phone some days though... but I'm that generation...)


One of these days I'll get around to making a vibrate mode on my Blackberry though that doesn't vibrate for email. 100 times a day of desk-vibrate, desk-vibrate, outlook new email popup, blackberry-beep gets irritating...
 

notzac

Established Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
2,811
Points
0
For when at work, phone goes on silent. Work is fairly relaxed about personal calls during work time, but having it ring is a bit of a faux pas. If I'm in one of the datacentres, phone gets locked in my desk (they're not permitted in the DCs).

I've successfully avoided ending up with a work Crackberry thus far, which I'm incredibly happy about. ;)
 

jas

Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2008
Messages
105
Points
10
I've got no problem with having a work Crackberry, so long as it has an 'off' button. Mine happens to have that button pushed approximately when I get home every day.

I've had it insinuated in the past that that's "bad" etiquette because someone couldn't call me at 8pm one evening because his email didn't work. I don't think I appeared as sympathetic as I was supposed to.
 

simongr

Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
14,426
Points
0
I have a work blackberry and a personal mobile.

I have no issue with personal calls at work - people take/make personal calls on their deskphones so a mobile is no different for me.

Ringtones should of course be off - for both personal and company calls.

One of the reasons we give people blackberries is to make them contactable at all times - the flip side being they get us to fund numerous personal calls so I don't worry too much if there is an important call inbound or outbound out of work hours (I do conference calls at 6AM and 10PM so an 8PM call is no biggie).
 

2muchplastic

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2008
Messages
416
Points
0
I will generally put my mobile (work paid only - no personal one) on silent as soon as it goes in my pocket to go to work. One of my pet hates is comedy ring tones, there's nothing worse (IMO) than half a dozen obnoxious ring tones going off when you're trying to concentrate on your work or hold your own phone conversation without having to shout.

I'm glad I have my own office where I can block off some of the noise, but frequently the open plan area outside my office can become a little bit riotous, particularly the salesmen :(

I have no issue with personal calls, it has to be remembered that people do have a life outside of work, and it is sometimes more important than work. However, the discussion of plans for the weekend/latest boyfriend/movies you've seen does not fall in that category, and should be taken outside of work hours.

My phone is with me pretty much 99.9% of the day (and would agree with thewinchester about answering it in the toilet. NO thanks) and if an incoming call interrupts a work conversation, it is answered (after excusing myself for a moment) with a "Hi, I'll call you back in a few minutes", before continuing.

When I'm giving training courses, I always request right at the beginning that mobiles are turned off, or at the very least turned to silent, so that there are no interrruptions. Even if people are polite and attempt to take the call outside the training room, it is still disruptive for all the others in the room as they get up and leave, and then making everyone wait until the person has returned.
Seriously, is there ever something that is so urgent that it cannot wait for 2 hours (max)???

And I'm in the same boat as simongr - my personal use of my work provided mobile is the "give" part of my being expected to take phone calls from all countries east of India up until whatever o'clock, and join in on teleconferences with Europe or the US before or after normal working hours, or disappear off to other cities/states/countries at the drop of a hat.
No Blackberry for me though - thankfully I don't sit in the right management group!

I have been in offices where there was a strict no mobile calls policy, and other places where any mobiles have to be checked in at reception (it was a mobile phone factory.....), and I know which theory I prefer.:D
 

MEL_Traveller

Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
21,785
Solutions
1
Points
1,820
Do you carry a mobile with you at work (or must you leave it in a secure place)?

Take it with you!!!! A mobile phone is called a mobile phone for a reason... it's mobile! Almost nothing worse than a colleague's mobile left on their desk and it rings... and gets louder and louder... and the one thing you can never do is answer someone else's mobile!

Then the phone goes again when the message bank comes through.

Then the phone goes again when the person (who left the message bank) ring back!

Aaaargh!

Anyways.. as for the rest of it... normal manners should apply to the use of a mobile phone - and different circumstances will have different outsomes. There is no hard and fast rule.

If I am in a meeting and expecting a call I'll tell the meeting when we start and then give my apologies when the call comes and step out of the room.

If I'm with the boss and the phone rings I'll hit the cancel button, but often the boss is reading something I've brought in and will tell me to take the call.
 
Now with contactless delivery, shop online to get drinks delivered to your door or pick up in-store in 30 minutes. Lowest Liquor Price Guarantee. Biggest Range.

Recommended by the Australian Frequent Flyer

drewbles

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
5,810
Points
5
I'm probably the wrong person to ask. I work for a Mobile Phone Company ;)

I always have my phone on and in its dock, sometimes on silent, sometimes not. I usually have anywhere from 2 to 10 mobiles on my desk at any one time, with anywhere from 2 to 5 of them actually fired up. Most of them have different test SIM cards in them for troubleshooting and systems stuff, but they don't usually ring as no one has the numbers.

Like others on here, I have SMS alerts for when things break or systems start looking critical (gotta love SNMP and syslog). This means I usually don't have my mobile on silent, as the SMS alerts beat the email alerts usually.

In past lives, phones have been on vibrate-only in my pocket or turned off. I've always been in the IT world where companies tend to prefer you expensing your own phone rather than providing a work one. This means I tended to leave it on for those jobs.

When I was in call centres many many years ago, my phone was off. This was back in the AMPS phone days though ;)

IT is one of the few industries where people's mobiles are usually left on though, usually for the above reasons. Most other people I know in non-technical or sales-related roles tend to turn theirs off during work hours.

And as a totally un-related bit of trivia, if you were in Germany you wouldn't have a Mobile, you'd have a 'handy' ;)
 

anat0l

Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
11,672
Points
10
And as a totally un-related bit of trivia, if you were in Germany you wouldn't have a Mobile, you'd have a 'handy' ;)

True.

We're one of the few countries around the world that refers to the said devices as "mobiles". A lot of countries use the term "cell" or "cell phone". I know many Asian countries also use "hand phone" (viz. German "handy").
 

straitman

Enthusiast
Moderator
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Messages
17,787
Points
840
Qantas
LT Gold
Virgin
Red
True.

We're one of the few countries around the world that refers to the said devices as "mobiles". A lot of countries use the term "cell" or "cell phone". I know many Asian countries also use "hand phone" (viz. German "handy").
Maybe we could call them a handy, mobile cell phone :!: :D
 

notzac

Established Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2008
Messages
2,811
Points
0
I'm glad I have my own office where I can block off some of the noise, but frequently the open plan area outside my office can become a little bit riotous, particularly the salesmen :(

Our entire office is open plan (no one is allowed to have a separate office), and the sales guys used to work on the other side of the room from me. Listening to them was many different kinds of irritating. :( Thankfully, the sales people were banished downstairs - everyone else got sick of hearing them! :D

Take it with you!!!! A mobile phone is called a mobile phone for a reason... it's mobile! Almost nothing worse than a colleague's mobile left on their desk and it rings... and gets louder and louder... and the one thing you can never do is answer someone else's mobile!

See, I'm more than happy to go find the offending phone and hang up on whoever is calling. :)

And as a totally un-related bit of trivia, if you were in Germany you wouldn't have a Mobile, you'd have a 'handy' ;)

<german accent>Wo ist mein Handy?</german accent> :D
 

Flashback

Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Messages
10,720
Points
1,330
I have my mobile with me at all times, and always on normal mode.

I have my own office where I work, so if a personal call comes through (not often during the day, as people know I'm likely busy with work and don't have time for it) I can just shut the door and yap away.

Like a lot of others here I receive SMS alerts for when things go awry, so don't like leaving mine on silent. So much so that I've been woken up by *****'s in the middle of the night whereas if I had the pleasure of being able to put it on silent I would have had many more nights comfortable sleep! :evil:
 

tuapekastar

Established Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
4,446
Points
720
We're open plan, I think even the CEO (and this company employs >5000 people) does not have an office per se.

At work my 'handy mobile' :), unless in use, stays in my pocket, always...if I started leaving it on desks, or on tables in bars I would lose it, there's no doubt. Unfortunately we have one or two light-fingered people among us at work as well. And it's normally sound on...my ringtone is inoffensive and not too loud, and as the phone is always with me, it'll be dealt with promptly, be it answering or rejecting.

Always off or silent though in meetings, courses and the like. And I normally would not answer it whilst in these situations...that's what voicemail is for. It irks me when people do answer phones in these situations (unless pre-advised that it's genuinely important for some reason).

Unless in exceptional circumstances I won't interrupt a work conversation (or a call on a fixed service) to answer my mobile...it's rude! Again, voicemail is my friend (did I mention that I hate being interrupted by someone utilising their 'call waiting'* - a truly hideous feature of private telephone lines. Mostly, if they say 'hang on a sec' and put me on hold, I'll hang up). *I'll make an exception if pre-advised at the start of the convo that an important call is expected and may come during said convo.

We have some 'quiet rooms' nearby I can go if I wish my conversation to be private (or not bother workmates).

I have had opponents in pennant table tennis stop in the middle of a game to answer their mobiles, then proceed to have a conversation! They got very short shrift from me.

I think they often bring out the worst in peoples' selfish attitudes (using in theatres etc.)
 

Flashback

Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Messages
10,720
Points
1,330
We're open plan, I think even the CEO (and this company employs >5000 people) does not have an office per se.

At work my 'handy mobile' :), unless in use, stays in my pocket, always...if I started leaving it on desks, or on tables in bars I would lose it, there's no doubt. Unfortunately we have one or two light-fingered people among us at work as well. And it's normally sound on...my ringtone is inoffensive and not too loud, and as the phone is always with me, it'll be dealt with promptly, be it answering or rejecting.

Always off or silent though in meetings, courses and the like. And I normally would not answer it whilst in these situations...that's what voicemail is for. It irks me when people do answer phones in these situations (unless pre-advised that it's genuinely important for some reason).

Unless in exceptional circumstances I won't interrupt a work conversation (or a call on a fixed service) to answer my mobile...it's rude! Again, voicemail is my friend (did I mention that I hate being interrupted by someone utilising their 'call waiting'* - a truly hideous feature of private telephone lines. Mostly, if they say 'hang on a sec' and put me on hold, I'll hang up). *I'll make an exception if pre-advised at the start of the convo that an important call is expected and may come during said convo.

We have some 'quiet rooms' nearby I can go if I wish my conversation to be private (or not bother workmates).

I have had opponents in pennant table tennis stop in the middle of a game to answer their mobiles, then proceed to have a conversation! They got very short shrift from me.

I think they often bring out the worst in peoples' selfish attitudes (using in theatres etc.)

The last 2 corporates I have worked for have been open plan and have also had said 'quiet rooms', which 99% of the time people jump in to to conduct meetings!
 

Will

Active Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
546
Points
0
I unfortunately have to leave mine on at work at all times, and answer it - even if I'm sitting in a lecture theatre, or in a meeting, or a consultation.

Luckily, no-one thinks it's rude because we all have to do it.
 

tuapekastar

Established Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
4,446
Points
720
I unfortunately have to leave mine on at work at all times, and answer it - even if I'm sitting in a lecture theatre, or in a meeting, or a consultation.

Luckily, no-one thinks it's rude because we all have to do it.

There are always exceptions Will :)...IIRC you are a doctor? No issues with that and any other emergency service type situations. My gripe was directed at 'normal' business situations when it is not really an emergency situation.
 

medhead

Suspended
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
20,288
Points
0
Given that
I conduct business on my mobile I leave it on, at least in my old workplace. That was open plan but we had quiet rooms for hpone calls and such. Of course, since I have a desk phone I see a mobile phone as no different to the desk phone. I don't sit there and worry about disturbing others when on the landline, why should I on a mobile.

Only rule is silent for meetings. Of course, one of the worst things I've experienced is 2 miners (well mine management) in a meeting on opposite sides of the table texting each other - having a private little joke.

New job, I have an office and I shut the door - again no problems.
 

Skoogle

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
217
Points
0
Last week, our HR sent around office etiquette guidelines to all staff. As with other real world situations, there are good practices/behaviour and then there is what really happens.

It did stop short of bathroom etiquette, however there is already a workbook, poster and video kit to assist with that problem. For goodness sake, learn to aim or get your mama to cleanup after you.
 

Leumas

Active Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2004
Messages
553
Points
0
I've only worked at one place where they'd an explicit cellphone policy - silent and non-viberate. They argued that cellphone viberations against a hard surface (e.g., a desk) is going to make a fair amount of noise too, therefore defeating the point of having it on silent.

My current place has no policy, but most people are quite good and have their phones on silent or a very low volume. Mine is just one a single 'beep'. A lot of phones have 'profiles', which I love, I've a work profile, an outdoors profile, etc. It controls everything from ring tones to button presses, etc.

People tend to walk off with their mobiles if they've personal conversations anyway.

Personally, I consider it rude to take mobiles into a meeting unless it's absolutely unavoidable. My mobile tends to stay on my desk when I'm at work.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Community Statistics

Threads
86,587
Messages
2,099,231
Members
53,901
Latest member
nhandinhbongdaseriea
Top