As tech invades more and more of our personal and work lives, it is increasingly important that you are aware of these tech etiquette in office tips.

1. Mobile Phone Use

Everyone talks loudly when they are on a mobile phone–fact. There’s no avoiding it, as noise on either end often makes being heard and hearing others difficult. Good tech etiquette in the office suggests that you should consider doing the following:

  • keep the call short,
  • move to an area where you will not be disturbing others,
  • arrange a call on a landline (better call quality means less shouting).

2. Social Network Use

Unless you are the social network tzar for your company or it’s part of the job, tech etiquette in office suggests that you should keep your social network use to a minimum. Find out about what is permissible by having a read through any IT policy and procedures. Take care to note whether your computer use is being monitored and limit social networking to accepted points in the day (usually lunch break).

3. Surfing The Web For Fun

Leave surfing the web for when you are at home or on breaks. Surfing web sites that interest you may help kill a few hours, but it also can prevent you from getting things done. Avoid this distraction at all costs and focus on the task in hand.

4. Device Charging

It is bad tech etiquette to unplug a device that is charging for someone else. Chances are, you will forget to plug the thing back in and may cause your colleague issues when they are out on the road or in a meeting. Instead ask to swap the charging device out or hunt for another plug socket.

5. Instant Messaging Abuse or Misuse

Instant Messaging (IM) has become an increasingly popular way of helping colleagues stay in touch. Less formal than an email, it allows short, sharp communication that otherwise might have needed a phone call. Be to keep your messages short and to the point sure when you are using IM. There is no harm in having your personality shine through in your messages, but steer clear of waffle and joke messages as you are likely to get ignored by colleagues when you actually need them to respond quickly.

If you receive a message, it is expected that you should reply quickly and succinctly–assuming that you are not in a meeting or having a person-to-person conversation.

And don’t use it to keep up to date with friends on the company dime.

6. Using Laptops in Meetings

Keep your laptop use in any meetings to a minimum. Only use your laptop for the benefit of the meeting and don’t start working on something else. If the meeting is focused and keeps to an agenda, there is no reason you should need use this as an opportunity to surf the web or respond to email.

If you find yourself in meetings where you could be more productive elsewhere, do your bit and excuse yourself. Don’t start messing about with your laptop and distract others in the process.

7. Printer Supplies

If you happen to run the printer out of toner or ink, do not leave it for someone else to replace. Do it yourself. If you end up using the last of the printer supplies from the stock cupboard, make sure you tell or email the person responsible for ordering replacements. Don’t assume that someone else will sort it. Same goes for paper or if you see any unusual flashing lights on a printer (they usually mean something).

8. Large Print Jobs

If you are going to send a large print job to a printer that will clog it up for more than a few minutes, do this:

  • print on a printer that is rarely used, so it will not be noticed
  • print at a time when others won’t mind,
  • print after you’ve given your colleagues a warning.

9. Work Email Is For Work

Don’t use your work email to keep in touch with friends and family. This is for use for work only and can help you keep a good separation between work and home life. With the proliferation of great email services available from the likes of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo there is no reason why you would need to use your work email in this way. Instead set up a separate account.

10. Bringing Viruses To Work

Easier said than done. Make sure that any computers at home have up-to-date antivirus protection and regularly scan any USB drives that might come in contact with both work and home machines. Better still if you can avoid it, do not use USB drives for moving data between devices; instead, use cloud services, as these have built in virus-checking to prevent you from inadvertently spreading viruses on these services.

11. Get To Know Your IT Policies

Spend some time reading the IT policies for your work place. Whilst there are common threads across most businesses, there will be some nuances that are particular to your job and working environment. Your employer is entitled to monitor your IT use if explicitly stated within policies that are reference by your employment contract. So getting to know what you can and can’t do may at least save you a little bit of embarrassment or it may save you your job.

Get in touch with me in the comments section if you have any other tech etiquette in office top tips.

You may be interested in this: 27 Email Etiquette Tips for Professionals

Featured photo credit: Phillie Casablanca via Flickr

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