TV screens, computer screens, phone screens, and more. It’s practically impossible to escape them. Technology is everywhere, including the office. Which isn’t a problem, until it’s abused.
Millennials are often seen as the worst offenders. They’re constantly on their phone scrolling through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram. This isn’t a problem with older generations!
Or is it?
As noted by Forbes, Ralph Jacobson, a global retail industry marketing analyst at IBM, said in an online discussion that “people of all ages are constantly distracted by phone alerts for social media, texting, promotional emails, etc. Ensuring that employees have daily work assignments with short-term, tangible goals that have deadlines, is a way to keep people focused on their work. If there is too much uncertainty in project deadlines without defined daily milestones, peoples’ attention will wander.”
So if it’s a problem we all suffer from, what can we do to fix it? Not all employees know what proper screen etiquette in the office looks like. Although it varies depending on your manager and place of business, below are a few tips to keep in mind.
Life is a Series of First Impressions
“You only get one first impression.” Odds are you’ve heard that, or some variation of it, more than a few times. And it’s true. Especially in the workplace, where, depending on your position, you might have multiple first impressions with new clients or customers every day. When talking to someone, talk to them. Actively participate in the conversation.
You don’t want to ruin those impressions because of something as silly as your phone. So don’t keep your eyes glued to it! It was rude in school and it’s rude now. Especially during a meeting or presentation. And steer clear of attempting to hide your phone under the desk—the boss knows what that blue screen glow means.
Of course, depending on the position, it’s possible you might need to check your phone during meetings. Maybe there’s a client that won’t stop calling, or a minor emergency that needs to be taken care of. In those cases, discreetly access your phone and take care of the matter quickly. If the issue requires all of your attention, ask to step out to take care of it.
Keep Off of Social Media
This next one will vary depending on where you work and what the position entails, but it’s usually a good idea to stay off social media until you get a better idea of what the workplace culture looks like.
If you’re liking Aunt Gertrude’s garden pics, you aren’t being productive. Although it might just be a quick break for you, others could think it represents some sort of trend. You don’t want to be seen as the office slacker, so avoid it.
It’s important to note that there are plenty of valid reasons to be on social media—checking the company’s social media page, connecting with potential clients, etc. You’ll need to make some of your own judgment calls on what is and is not acceptable for your workplace.
Get Your Work Done
In the end, what really matters is that you’re doing what you’re paid to do.
As mentioned by Professor Gene Detroyer in the same online discussion referenced earlier, “How about instead of looking at the hours, we look at the accomplishment? I am all for, ‘If you get the job done, take the rest of the day off.’”
Obviously, not all employers are going to be as lax as Professor Detroyer, but you know if you’re getting the work done and meeting deadlines. Don’t do anything, on screens or otherwise, that jeopardizes your work ethic.
But does your job end at deadlines? Nope. So instead of spending time on screens, brainstorm new projects ideas or create new responsibilities that go above and beyond your job description.