You’ve no doubt heard the line, “would you like to come over and we can all sit around and stare at our phones?”. While this might be acceptable in some social circles with some generations, it absolutely won’t fly in a business setting. If you’re cleaver enough to get a job, you should be smart enough to keep it. If you have a customer facing position, are working in a warehouse or manufacturing concern, or working with the ‘suits’ in an office, it’s critical to your success that learn the fundamentals of business phone etiquette.
Employees with customer facing, manufacturing and warehouse position should never be on their phones unless they are on break or it is a real emergency. When dealing with customer, they deserve the curtesy of your undivided attention. When working in a warehouse or manufacturing facility, phone use is off limits while performing your job functions. Heavy equipment, forklifts and phone use don’t mix. Not only are you risking an accident that could harm you, but you’re also putting others in harm’s way. These positions have built in break times when it’s perfectly acceptable to use a cell phone.
In an office environment, cell phone use can be a bit trickier. It is certainly unacceptable to use your phone to access social media during business hours unless your job specifically requires this. Companies have begun to block access from corporate servers to many social media websites. When you are in a meeting or have direct interaction with a coworker, never, ever be on your phone. If you want to show someone your fancy new cell phone case, save it for lunch or break. If you need to access information, let those present know exactly what you are doing. Retrieve the information you’re seeking as a group and then turn your phone off. Phones should always be turned off, not on vibrate mode, when in meetings. This is proper phone etiquette in a business setting.
Since the literal explosion of cell phone use, both small and large companies are scrambling to write and communicate appropriate policies for cell phone usage. If you are ever in doubt if it’s appropriate to use your cell phone, it’s not.