5 Crucial Rules for Tech Etiquette in the Workplace


With devices that keep us connected 24/7, it can be hard to look away. Four roommates learned that on a recent episode of NBC’s ‘Dateline’. The girls (barely) made it through a two-week ‘digital detox,’ in which they gave up all technology and realized how addicted they are (we are) to smartphones, PCs and tablets.

How do we manage our tech habits and not let them get the better of us — especially in the workplace?

In the second installment of the ‘digital detox’ series, News To Live By has found some of the best tech etiquette advice for our careers.

1. Work towards zero

From the Emily Post etiquette guide:

‘Notice how many times a day you use your mobile device in a way that would bother you should someone else do it, and work toward zero.’


2. Stack ‘Em Up

Interesting tech etiquette idea from Men’s Health that could work well in group meetings:

‘Upon arrival at the table, have everyone stack their phones in the center of the table to form a tiny tower of technology. The rules are simple: The first one to answer their phone, shoot a text, or even glance at their screen must buy dinner or the next round of drinks.’

In an office meeting, maybe the loser has to buy lunch or become the group’s note-taker?

tech etiquette
If your phone buzzes in a meeting with your boss, are you able to ignore it? Here are five tips for proper tech etiquette in the workplace.

3. Lost in Translation

Business magazine Inc. says that too many of our texts and emails suffer from poor communication:

‘Tone, context, and subtle nuances are easily lost in translation online. Before sending, tweeting, posting, etc., ask yourself if your message could be misconstrued or misinterpreted. If there’s any doubt, pick up the phone.

To state the obvious: Emails cannot be undone–so watch what you say and whom you copy. Don’t write anything in an email that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying publicly. If you’re going to add people to an email conversation, let the recipients know (“I’m copying John Smith, our head of marketing, here”).’


4. Sit Still

Mashable has smart advice for video conferencing:

‘You may know someone who constantly fidgets. You may even have threatened to tie them to a chair during a videoconference. Simply put, excessive movements can be extremely distracting to others on the conference, so avoid rocking, pacing, or making dramatic gestures.

Avoid bright, flashy, patterned clothing. Play it safe, wear neutral tones in solid patterns.’


5.Who is in Control?

Finally, one more tech etiquette pearl of wisdom from Emily Post:

‘Any behavior can become habitual and start to escape notice. It’s up to you to actively manage your device. Keep your wits about you and your etiquette radar fine tuned. Have fun and take good advantage of all that these new technologies can do.’

Technology: friend or foe?

The answer is entirely up to you.

If your phone buzzed or rang with a new text or email, would you be able to ignore it? How do you disconnect from technology?

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© 2013, Danny Rubin


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