I was in the airport recently (along with thirty-five of my new best friends) waiting for a maintenance delay to be over so we could all get to where we wanted to go.
One gentleman in particular was not happy to hear that yet another delay had been posted for our flight. He expressed his frustration to the gate agent. You know and I know (and I’m willing to bet that even he knows) that the gate agent can’t do much about it, but he was trying to get some answers.
In the middle of him explaining that he had to show up at his military base no later than midnight to sign in, the agent’s personal cell phone rang. Ignoring the man and his frustration, she dug her phone out of her purse, and answered it. She said nothing prior to answering the phone to the extremely frustrated gentle-man at the counter. He was left completely speechless by her rudeness.
The other day I was going to a business meeting in an office tower, signing in with the concierge, and the same thing happened to me. His cell phone rang and off he went to have a personal chat while I waited for him to finish.
And while I was having lunch last week with a seminar participant, her cell phone rang, and she answered it, proceeding to carry on a conversation with her mother.
What has happened to the world that a ringing cell phone stops all business from happening? How on earth did we conduct our personal lives during working hours prior to having cell phones? Add into the mix that not only do we answer the phone, but we instantly respond to texts while we are with other people as well? If I am expecting a call or a text while I’m with someone, I will let them know that I need to respond. Otherwise the phone stays in my purse, or upside down at the table.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”qc0Nb” via=”yes” ]Just in case you need reminding: Work hours are for work.[/ctt]
Work hours are for work. We don’t need to be in constant communication with our friends and families while we are at work, and it shouldn’t interrupt our working day. I’m sure if the CEO of your company was standing in front of you, you wouldn’t answer your cell phone or respond to a text message from a friend (at least I hope you wouldn’t). Your customer is no less important than the CEO because after all, she’s the one who affects your company’s bottom line.
Emergencies are different. If it’s an emergency, it is certainly acceptable to use the company phone and call your family member. Everyone will agree to that.
If your kids need to let you know they are home safely, they can text or you an e-mail. If your mom wants to chat, speak to her when office hours are over. And you shouldn’t be calling the radio station during working hours to enter a contest, regardless of what phone you use.
In my Time & Workload Management webinar and workshop, I share that the most important question you should be asking yourself to manage your workload is “Is this the best use of my time?” Everything will get done. That much we know. Is answering the phone or responding to the text at this instant the best use of your time?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”ZceyX” via=”yes” ]Is this the best use of my time? We should always be asking ourselves that question.[/ctt]
At the airport, the gate agent should have left her phone ringing in her purse. In any case, she shouldn’t even have had it on, since I can’t imagine a scenario in which it would ever be appropriate for her to have a personal call where all the passengers could listen in.
She should have saved her personal calls for her break time, when she was out of the view of customers and co-workers.
The concierge at the office tower should have not answered his phone either. There was plenty of time once the foyer was empty for him to continue his conversation if his workload allowed it (but I’m pretty sure he had other things to do).
My lunch mate had every right to answer her phone—it was lunchtime. However, it was incredibly rude for her to continue her personal conversation, with me sitting there trying not to listen.
Put yourself in your companion’s shoes. Would you appreciate someone ignoring you while they carried on a personal conversation in front of you? I’m sure you wouldn’t.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”3IKa1″ via=”yes” ]If you wouldn’t appreciate if someone carried on a personal conversation while ignoring you, be sure you are guilty of doing it either![/ctt]
Etiquette is all about manners, and good manners are all about paying attention to how your actions affect others. In an office situation, your etiquette meter should always be turned up to “high.” Pay attention, use good judgment, imagine how you would feel if the situation were reversed and you will be appreciated, even admired, in your workplace.