When Smart Phones Make You Act Dumb

December 5, 2011 | By | Comments (6)

We all have figured out by now that we’re not supposed to answer a cell phone in a restaurant. Or at the movies. Or in the delivery room while the obstetrician is yelling, “Push.”

But at the office? We’re still making gaffes. Cell phones are ringing in conference rooms. We’re texting away during meetings. We’re cradling our mobile devices in our laps, where we mistakenly think our colleagues can’t see us sneaking a peek.

This is the behavior human resources managers are reporting, according to a recent nationwide survey of 100 of them.

“Technology itself isn’t rude; a phone is just a device and for the most part a very useful one – if we use it right,” says Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute, which conducted the survey in July for Intel.

Last week, Post (the great great-granddaughter of Emily) came to New York City to talk to Real Simple about the survey results:

Anna: We’re seeing contradictory behavior in the workplace. On one hand, 70 percent of HR managers believe mobile devices allow employees to be more productive by multi-tasking. But on the other hand, 79 percent say they can be a hindrance by causing unnecessary disruptions.

Real Simple: What are some of the disruptions?

Anna: Surfing the Internet or taking a phone call from a client in a meeting. Talking too loud on the mobile device while you’re in the office.

Real Simple: What’s the solution?

Anna: Be respectful of your environment. If you’re in a meeting, give your attention to the meeting. If your top priority is checking in with the client every two minutes instead, you shouldn’t be in the meeting. You should be in an environment – at your desk – where you can respond to the client moment to moment.

Rude or polite? Do your colleagues know how to use their cell phones properly at the office? What’s your pet peeve?

(image via RealSimple.com)