“Digital” business etiquette—4 rules

It's hard to imagine a world of work without mobile devices. Read on to find out how to use them correctly without jeopardizing your working relationships with colleagues.

1. Don't surf the Internet while talking to someone. Not only does this distract you, it's impolite and disrespectful too.

2. Don't leave excessively long e-mail messages. Get to the point as quickly as possible. Leave your telephone number or e-mail address and mention the best time to contact you. If you're not in regular contact with the person, repeat your name at the end of your message.

3. Use the appropriate means of communication. E-mails can be written quickly and the recipient can read the message as soon as they have time. However, they can also be misinterpreted. In addition, more and more employees are complaining about unnecessary messages because a “Cc culture” has become established in many places. Think about whether a telephone call or a personal conversation might be more appropriate. Personal contact establishes trust more quickly and in most cases working together will be more successful.

4. Multitasking only where it's possible. In many companies, laptops and smartphones are used in meetings. In others, this is not allowed as it can lead to longer, less successful meetings. If a meeting goes on for a long time, the breaks should be used to check e-mails. And if you're expecting an urgent call or e-mail, tell those attending the meeting at the start.

Robert Half

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