Given that your corporate culture is not discriminative of cell phone usage while in the operations area, the question is: When should you feel free or restricted to use it? This you will find out as you read on.
First of all, the reason why your company allows you to bring your electronic gadgets is that these gizmos are necessary, if not crucial to the accomplishment of your tasks and assignments. It takes a lot of good discretion on your end to know when the right time is to pull out your device especially if the activity is not purely for business purposes.
When you’re in a meeting, think long and hard if you should attend to the ringing phone or respond to a text message alert. Although you pride in yourself for being a good multitasker, other people will find it offensive as they think your attention is obviously divided.
In terms of whether it is acceptable to use smartphones, iPads, or tablet PCs when taking important notes in a meeting, it’s better if you just use a laptop. First off, the presence of smartphones and iPads as office tools is fairly new. And as we all know, iPads and tablet PCs carry a slight association with games and entertainment. Since a laptop screen is normally visible to everybody, it gives the people perfect reason not be skeptical while you’re tinkering with your device. Since iPads and smartphones are more personal devices, it may give the people the idea that you’re just playing and not paying attention to whatever is happening in the meeting.
If there is an emergency call, don’t answer it while in front of your colleagues. Talk in private and not along the hallways or an enclosed area. No one likes to overhear a phone conversation. If you are expecting a call, inform your peers beforehand that the call is important and needs attending to. Once the call arrives, kindly excuse yourself from the room and take it.
If you’re the one delivering a presentation or presiding over a meeting, take authority by setting the ground rules and making others aware that their peering over their smartphones or tablet PCs can distract your performance. When you clearly convey these expectations, you are on safer ground should you point out your peer’s shortcoming.
How about the use of Wi-Fi? If the company operations mostly rely on the internet, then I say it’s too much if you use it just so you can update your Facebook status, or tweet the latest deets about you. Given that you are using your own smartphone or iPad, the Wi-Fi is still considered office property. Consuming the spare bandwidth of the broadband can lead to occasional lags and a slow connection. And this is a total bummer both to your performance and others’.
These are just a few pointers that will guide you while your company is still balking about whether or not to revoke that confusing policy on cell phone usage on the floor.