To Text or Not To Text…When is it appropriate to text in the workplace?

Businessman TextingTexting has invaded our workplace and is most likely here to stay.  It’s a form of communication that allows us to stay connected to family, friends and the world and something that we have grown accustom to doing.  But how is it impacting your company?  I once witnessed a manager texting during a meeting and in front of the CEO.  I asked myself, “Does she really not know this is inappropriate?” So before you go texting, you may want to consider some of these suggestions.

Meetings and Presentations: First consider this, how do you feel about someone who continuously talks to a coworker during a meeting?  Most of you would find this unprofessional conduct.  So think of texting in that same way and you can understand how texting is not appropriate and may seem rude.  At meetings, we are expected to focus on the person conducting the meeting and give our full attention.  Therefore you don’t want to appear uninterested or disrespectful.  Even reading under the table is viewed as unprofessional.  If you are expecting an important text, excuse yourself from the meeting and take it in a private place.

At your workstation:  Many companies allow cell phones in the workplace.  However, most managers would agree that texting and cell phone use is perceived as a distraction and decreases productivity.  Limit texting at your workstation and keep your phone on silent to avoid disrupting others.  As with personal phone calls, texting is more suitable during breaks and lunch.  Ask your friends and family to avoid texting you during your peak work hours.

Business lunches:  Keep your cell phone in your pocket or purse.  Laying it on the table and constantly checking your email or text messages make you appear self-absorbed and can send the wrong message to your client or coworker.

Other text etiquette tips:  Email and phone calls are better forms of communication for business purposes than texting, however when you do text, keep these suggestions in mind.  Avoid texting bad news.  In the event you cannot speak to the person face to face, a phone call is probably a better form of communication when delivering bad news.   Be respectful and watch your tone.  If you are upset with someone call them instead of texting.  Return text messages as you would a phone call.  Lastly, avoid texting anytime when you are with a client or customer.

Whether you are the business owner, CEO or a manager, remember that the standard begins with you.  Therefore it is important to set a good example for your employees.  Communicate your expectations and if the problem persists, you may want to consider contacting your HR consultant to formulate a company policy as well.

How is texting affecting your company? What is your strategy for addressing texting issues in the workplace?

Scholley Bubenik is the owner of Austin based HR Consulting Company, Premier HR Solutions.  For additional information regarding Premier HR Solutions visit:  www.premierhrsolutions.net or contact Scholley at sbubenik@premierhrsolutions.net.

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