There seem to be some commonly unspoken rules about the appropriateness of using certain technology throughout the course of the workday. You may have an IT practices policy in your office, but for some of us, we need to infer proper times, places, and limits of our technology use. Here are some courtesy tips for tech use throughout your day at the office.
1. Use social media sparingly.
Checking Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others during the course of your work day can be extremely distracting and time consuming. Let’s be honest here, would your boss really be ok with how much time you spend on Facebook during your work hours? Some of us just need to overcome our addiction to seeing those little red notification flags pop up at the top of our screens. Keep social media use for breaks. If you use social media to do your job, forget everything we just said.
2. Limit tech use during meetings.
Unless you like to take digital notes via your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, or you are waiting for important updates, keep your tech at bay during your company meetings. Some of your fellow staff members (including your boss) may interpret your surfing the web during a meeting as rude and disconnected (weird, huh?). Engage in the conversation, and take notes with your tech, just don’t start playing Candy Crush Saga while you’re discussing important company matters.
3. Don’t plug up the printer.
If you need to send a large print job to your company printer that would stall others from printing for more than a few minutes, we have a few suggestions to do so without getting scoffed at. First, if possible, use the extra printer that nobody else uses, even if it takes a bit more time and has less quality output. If you only have one printer, or need the highest quality printer, print at a time when your coworkers generally don’t print, like during a lunch break. Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to give a quick shout out to your coworkers letting them know that you’ll be printing for the next few minutes.
Furthermore, if you encounter an empty ink or toner cartridge, replace it. Fill the printer back up with paper if it’s out. If there is none left, notify the person responsible for the stock. If your printer is flashing weird lights and beeping, don’t run away from it for somebody else to fix. Spend the time to take care of it. Bottom line: clean up your mess, and don’t leave it for somebody else. Just like mama taught you.
4. Use your work email for work.
Chances are, your work email is hosted by your company server and is meant to be used for communications that pertain to company matters. So, you probably shouldn’t be sending pictures of your kids to your mom or emailing your spouse about a cool blog article through your company email account, especially on company time. Use your personal email account on your break for personal matters.
5. Don’t stream long videos.
You may logically see your lunch break as an opportune time to catch up on the latest episode of your favorite TV show on Hulu or Netflix, but if you are using company Internet, you’ll be using lots of bandwidth that won’t be available to your fellow workers who are getting work done. A simple solution is using your smartphone via your data plan to watch long videos. It also goes without saying that watching SpongeBob Squarepants on Netflix is a bad idea while working on company projects. Otherwise, it’s the greatest idea ever.
6. Leave your viruses at home.
If you think your computer or your mobile device may be compromised with malware, don’t expose it to your work computer by trafficking affected files through a thumb drive or through email. Viruses can easily infiltrate your whole company network by being exposed to your infected device. Find a cloud storage option to sync files from home and work, as they have sturdy anti-virus software in place.
7. Use your cell phone sparingly.
Cell phone conversations can be loud and distracting to your coworkers. If possible, it’s best to keep the call short, and move to a less populated area of the office. Beside, you may be talking about personal information that you don’t want everyone in the office to know. Also, use your cell phone for personal texting, social media, email, and web browsing sparingly during company time.
These are some of the basic elements of technology etiquette for your office workday. It all comes down to being courteous to your coworkers and not abusing privileges given to you by your boss. Obviously this is not an all-inclusive list. What are some other ways to be courteous with technology in the office? What pet peeves do you have with your officemates? Share with us in the comments section below!