Is There Text Etiquette For The Workplace?
By Kristine Penning, AgCareers.com
We talk about phone etiquette a lot in the career realm. It’s generally agreed upon that personal cell phone usage is inappropriate while at work, especially during meetings or at professional events. Yet we all still bring our phones to work. They sit on our desks. They buzz. And we pick them up.
But beyond that, business communication has spilled over from email and instant messaging to texting as well, blurring the lines of etiquette even more. So, it begs the question: is texting appropriate at work? If so, when? And how should we text our coworkers?
Texting at Work
Regarding cell phone policy at work, talk to your supervisor or refer to your employee handbook. There may be a policy against sending personal texts unless there is an emergency. Most workplace cultures tend to be lax on these guidelines, but if you do send personal texts to your significant others, family, or friends during the day, keep conversations to a minimum so as not to disrupt your productivity.
Remember to also respect the productivity of those around you. If you send a few texts throughout the day at work, check your notification settings. Be sure to set it to silent or vibrate only so as not to disrupt your coworkers.
Unless you are expecting an important text regarding your immediate family, leave your cell phones behind during a meeting. Show those around you that your focus is on your work at that time.
Texting Your Boss or Coworkers
There should not be much confusion or question as to how you should communicate with your coworkers or boss during or after work. Text them as you would email them, for the most part. Follow these general guidelines:
The differences lie in how long your communication should be. If longer than two or three sentences, send them an email instead. Also, refrain from texting your coworker after hours unless very urgent. They have their own lives as well and don’t wish to be interrupted. Furthermore, think of who might see your texts if they are away from work. Be careful with what you choose to send via text. If it’s more confidential, write an email instead.
Since emails can be received on a phone as well, talk to your boss or coworkers about making sure that work email can be accessed on their phones in case of emergency.
Discussing business texts begs the question of whether or not it’s permissible to text clients or external stakeholders. Again, follow the same guidelines set. Be respectful of their time and be professional, even if they are not professional back. Appearance and impression are important when communicating with clients. Text as though you were emailing them.
In instances of emergencies, however, it may be best to call them, such as if you are meeting for a dinner engagement and are running late, or if you need to cancel. Who knows if they are actively checking their phone or not. They may miss your text and end up waiting for you to no avail. This will not leave a positive impression.
As a parting thought, remember to keep business text conversations polite, professional, and minimal. Likewise, keep personal texts in the workplace minimal as well.
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