9 Tech Etiquette Tips in the modern workplace that could save you from the many potential pitfalls at every turn. You have to be on your toes to create and maintain a professional atmosphere with your colleagues. It’s no longer only for the sake of politeness, as more than three-quarters of HR managers say technology etiquette breaches can affect a person’s career prospects. This week we’ve taken a look at some tech etiquette do’s and don’ts, for the digital era.
# 1 Don’t wear earphones away from your desk.
Does your company allow the use of earphones in the workplace? Many people use earphones as a means of concentration to block out the hustle and bustle of everyday office noise. Be sure to leave the earphones off when leaving your desk, especially when heading into a communal areas. Your colleagues may perceive this as anti-social, or quite possibly rather rude.
# 2 Never unplug a device that is on charge.
Well this one should be a give in, but if you are in desperate need of charging your gadgets and gizmo’s always remember that it is first come, first served. If there are no spaces available do not simply unplug someone else’s device, always remember to ask first. If you cannot find the owner, move on to the next outlet as for all you know, the user may need all the juice he can get for an important business call.
# 3 Don’t forget to refill supplies
It’s the worst when you have an urgent deadline to meet, you get to the printer and the ink needs to be refilled. So what do you do? You head to the 4th floor to get new supplies. Be a good neighbor when it comes to office equipment. If the printer need paper, put it in. If you finished the milk, put a fresh box in the fridge. If someone lent you a gadget, return it fully charged. Never just walk away from an issue, even if the office is crazy busy and no one has noticed you were the last one to use it.
# 4 Never use someone else’s computer.
Of course you’re not just going to walk up to someone’s desk and randomly start using their computer, but in times of urgency it is not deemed appropriate to simply begin to use a colleague’s computer. It’s easy to think all equipment is company property and fair game for use, but this does not extend to computers and laptops. Most people are pretty possessive about their PC’s and view unauthorized use as an intrusion of their privacy.
# 5 Put your phone on silent at all times.
The worst is when you are in an important meeting, your boss is on a rampage and your cellphone begins to ring. Don’t be that guy. Even if company policy allows you to take personal calls during office hours, no one wants to hear your Mariah Carey chart-topper blasted throughout the office. You may only get personal calls on occasion, but you can bet the times you do, either someone important will be walking past or you’ll have left your phone unattended at your desk while everyone else hears it ring.
# 6 Don’t be an instant messaging nuisance
Instant messaging can be a very useful tool, but it’s easy to misuse and this can be a real source of annoyance. It goes without saying to respect someone’s “busy” status, but try to only interoffice message someone if your query can be resolved within a few brief responses. If the conversation is going to be longer than that, rather get up and speak to them in person or pick up the phone.
# 7 Limit laptop activity in meetings.
While the use of laptops in a meeting are a give in, try and be disciplined about what you do with it. You should limit laptop activity out of politeness, be it to carry on working, check mail, IM or even browse during meetings. You may think that tapping away on the keyboard could be interpreted as taking notes, but it will be fairly obvious to anyone else present that your attention is elsewhere.
# 8 Don’t be a screen smearer.
Obviously this does not relate to touch screens here, but rather monitors and laptop displays. Many people dislike it when you put fingerprints on their screens, and for good reason. A clean screen makes a happy user. While it’s easy to do if you’re trying to make a point or explain something, try not to touch other people’s screens and definitely don’t touch any screen if you’ve got dirty fingers.
# 9 Major downloading of content
Now this may come as a shock, but a lot of people think that downloading content such as; movies, music or even games is alright, as long as the employer doesn’t find out. Here’s the kicker, a lot of companies use monitoring software on work computer’s to keep an eye on exactly what you you are doing. You may think this is an invasion of your privacy, but in actual fact they do not access this information unless they feel you are not making the correct use of your time. So the next time you are tempted to download the latest Lady Gaga single, rather use your home computer.
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