by CIO Staff

Time to Turn Off the Cell Phone

Sep 19, 20053 mins
MobileSmall and Medium Business

In two recent nationwide surveys conducted by NFI Research, proper cell phone usage stuck out as a thorn in the side of senior executives and managers. They were not talking just about loud cell phone usage on the road, but the increasing usage of cell phones in the normal course of the workday.

Three-fifths of survey respondents said that conducting business would be improved if more people used cell phones appropriately. In a separate survey, loud cell phone usage was cited as the top annoyance after office politics.

Perhaps it is time for the adoption of better cell phone manners in business, with more focus on cell phone etiquette.

“Cell phone interruptions in meetings:Turn them off,” said one survey respondent. Said another: “The biggest issue is allowing cell phones to ring (and answering them) during meetings.”

Except under extraordinary circumstances, there is no reason to either answer a cell phone during a meeting or, worse, take the call and have a conversation while the meeting is still going on.

And what about the rudenik who not only takes the call but then – to avoid interrupting the meeting – walks out of the room talking on the phone, then returns after the call thereby interrupting the meeting not once, but twice.

If someone leaves a cell phone on during a meeting, it begs the question: Is this meeting really necessary for that person to attend if a cell phone call from anyone could be allowed to interrupt it?

Much of the insensitivity around cell phone use started on the road, as businesspeople – seemingly oblivious to those around them – shouted into their cell phones as if they were talking to a person through cans connected by string.

“The use of cell phones in public places, especially on airplanes once you board, has gotten out of hand,” said one respondent. “It seems like a lot of folks want to do it just to impress others on how important they are. Look for air rage if the government allows people to talk on cell phones throughout a flight. Also, folks seem to like to talk in restaurants while eating with others, which is extremely rude. I recently saw a manager go to tables and ask people to go outside if they were going to use their cell phones. Most of these calls are not emergencies, and it is very discourteous to others to behave in this manner.”

Said another: “Cell phones can be so helpful and so harmful, interrupting business but also interrupting personal life.”

It is time for those being interrupted by annoying, discourteous or even rude or obnoxious cell phone usage in their normal business to make it clear that they do not appreciate it by either stating it, or walking away leaving the offender alone with the cell phone.