While some employers, like the White House, have banned personal cell phone use while at work, plenty of folks are still using theirs at the office. A 2016 CareerBuilder survey shows cell phone usage and texting was the number one productivity killer at work and a recent survey by staffing firm Office Team finds professionals admit to wasting an average of 56 minutes a day on their personal phones. That adds up to a lot of time we let our phones distract us from work and that doesn’t make the higher ups at the company too happy.
So here are some guidelines for using your cell phone at work without upsetting your boss and still being productive, according to career coach Susan Ginsberg O’Sullivan.
- Don’t use your cell in front of your manager during a meeting unless you first disclose that you’re waiting on an urgent call, like about your sick kid.
- If that call comes during the meeting, slip out to take the call and don’t disrupt the meeting.
- Even when you’re with coworkers you’re friendly with at work, be cautious about taking out your phone to text, check messages, or get in a quick game of Words with Friends.
- Keep conversations quick - Sometimes you need to squeeze in a 40-second call or a brief text and it won’t derail your workday. But if you need to have a prolonged conversation, minimize the distraction to colleagues by walking to a quiet conference room or anywhere else where you won’t disturb them.
- Resist the urge to reply immediately - When loved ones repeatedly call or text during the workday, try to fight the urge to respond right away. Others will learn to respect your workday boundaries when they figure out you can’t always take calls or return messages during those times.
- Be courteous - To anyone standing in front of you who expects your attention, put down your device and make them your top priority.