Phone etiquette 101: Phone etiquette at work and in your personal life

27 Apr, 2022

Phones can be a double-edged sword. We need them to live. We need them to exist. But, in some ways, they hamper our lives and restrict our existence. It’s difficult to find the balance needed to truly have your phone usage under control. Overdoing it feels like second nature these days.

That’s why you need good phone etiquette! However, phones are new inventions and phone etiquette isn’t exactly something we’re taught. Luckily, we’re here to help. Whether you’re looking for home etiquette or work etiquette, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s our guide to establishing excellent phone etiquette reclaiming control of your life:

What is the importance of telephone etiquette?

When considering the importance of phone etiquette at home or at work, it’s important to truly consider the impact poor or good etiquette can have on your life.

Poor etiquette can have serious repercussions, and the importance of telephone etiquette extends far beyond the business setting and your personal life, and it even outstrips fundamental common decency. It’s something far more significant.

Poor cell phone etiquette at work or home can wreak havoc on your relationships.

From tarnishing professional connections to alienating yourself from those closest to you, failing to establish clear boundaries and phone etiquette parameters at work can result in unneeded distractions that hamper your performance and impede your success.

And, at home, it can cause you to not capitalize on the time. Whether you’re looking to make more time to nurture your success or simply want to spend more time with those you care most about, the consequences can truly be devastating.

However, as everyone knows, easy it is to get sucked in. It’s no secret that cell phones and apps are engineered to keep you hooked and continuously checking back in.

From discovering new brands to finding new songs to even staying current on all the news that matters most to you, there are innumerable reasons to let your personal and professional phone etiquette falter and ultimately disengage from the moment, and consequently from life.

Luckily, we’re here to stop that from happening. Here are telephone etiquette tips and examples  to help you reclaim your life.

Personal phone etiquette at home and beyond

On dates

When you’re on a date, you want to make the best impression possible. This means that good telephone etiquette is absolutely imperative to truly hit it out of the park.

If you absolutely need to use your phone, ask beforehand. Simply asking if they’ll be bothered by you taking a call or taking photos will work wonders. Even better, if you know you’re going to receive a call at some point during the date, give them a heads up so they know what to expect.

Don’t constantly show your date things on your phone. No one wants that. One or two photos or videos will be tolerable, but any more than that will not do you any favors. If you and your date are able, it’s also recommended that you put your phones away to minimize distractions.

Lastly, it’s recommended that you set your phone on silent. Too many notifications can be distracting, and it can be supremely off-putting. This leads to the final piece of etiquette absolutely everyone should adhere to.

Dates can be uncomfortable, and they can get awkward. It’s part of the game. However, this does not make it OK to check your phone when you’re feeling nervous. Exercise restraint. 

At home 

When you’re at home, you should be cherishing the time you have with your loved ones. Phones distract from that, and ultimately detract from quality time.

It’s advisable to establish no-phone zones. While it can be difficult to get everyone to comply, the results will be well worth it. Everyone will interact in a deeper and more meaningful way, and your relationships will only grow stronger.

However, an alternative to this would be using ‘Do Not Disturb’ settings. While it’s possible to still check your phone, the lack of notifications and vibrations will make everyone check their phones far less frequently. Still, your home should be a place to relax and indulge a little.

This means that you should find opportunities to use your phone. Capitalize. Be aware of when there’s downtime for you to exploit and use your phone then. For example, when people are running errands, using the bathroom, or even napping, these are windows to use your phone.

Also, having people put their phones out of sight will work wonders. If everyone puts their phone in their pocket or a bag while still having access to it, there’s a far lesser chance of people being on their phone. The less you see it, the less you want to use it.

Keeping it on your lap is ushering in disconnection.

no phone area at home

Professional phone etiquette

In meetings

When you’re in meetings, one of the most essential pieces of business phone etiquette is minding your ringtone. This might seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget. Depending on your work environment, your phone etiquette in the workplace will differ.

In some instances, it’s critical to ensure that the ringtone is off and it’s on vibrate, though even vibrate may be perceived as a disruption, and airplane mode might be your best bet. If your workplace is more laidback, keeping the ringtone turned down will suffice so you can hear it and excuse yourself.

Also, phone etiquette 101 dictates keeping your phone off your lap and out of sight so that you’re not tempted to look at it. This will enable you to focus all your attention on whoever is speaking. Good cell phone etiquette at work, particularly in meetings, goes a long way and rarely goes unnoticed.

This can work wonders for your career because these are valuable opportunities to get face time with major players.

use phone politely in meetings

Outside of meetings

Outside of meetings, it’s still important to maintain good phone etiquette. For example, if you have a neighbor, keeping your phone on vibrate or even turning it completely silent will go a long way in reducing how much you disturb them.

Also, a major aspect of phone etiquette in the workplace to be aware of is personal calls. Refrain from taking personal calls around others, particularly if they’re heated or awkward to be around. This makes everyone uncomfortable and is a major disruption.

Also, when you’re in the workplace, good business phone etiquette means refraining from taking photos unless you’ve explicitly asked permission. This is important because the workplace should be a comfortable environment, and not everyone is comfortable having their picture taken.

Just as importantly, avoid distractions altogether because they tend to snowball, and they can often be contagious. Telephone etiquette examples should include not visiting social media pages or YouTube while working, but this can even apply to your lunch break.

Also, at work it is important to remember to try not to make people hold for an extended period of time. Remember they are humans who have places to go and people to see

Work is a great chance to meet people and bond. Don’t use your phone as a way to avoid social interactions. This only hurts you in the end.

good business phone etiquette in the workplace

Now you know the most essential telephone etiquette tips…

...apply them and practice them! Good phone etiquette can work wonders for your personal life, and it can even make your relationships stronger with everyone. Not just your friends, not just your family, but with the entire human race.

Too often we disengage and check out. By consciously avoiding this behavior, you’re actively engaging with the world, and that’s the only way to truly succeed. But it’s hard. Our lives are consolidated into phones and extricating them from the moment can feel like an amputation.

It’s worth it in the end, though, and you will be glad you made these changes. And so will everyone else around you. So rehabilitate your bad phone habits already! Just like any bad habit, it takes time and work.

But, if we know you, and we’re sure we do, you won’t have a problem with that. 

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