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Questionnaire: Technology Etiquette in the Workplace

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 21 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Office Technology Mobile Phone Email

The ever evolving world of technology has brought all sorts of complicated etiquette issues into the workplace. Nobody is exactly sure what they should or should not do – can you answer your mobile in a meeting if the boss is there? Does it make you look busy and successful or unprofessional?

As with so many things, there is the ‘in theory’ and the ‘in reality’ situations, so rather than think about what the guidebook says, let’s have a look at what we can do in real life, so we still keep ourselves, our friends and our boss happy.

Read through the following scenarios and answer with whichever option best suits your opinion, then see how close you are to office technology etiquette perfection!

Sending Personal Emails

Everyone has the Internet at their desk now, so there are all sorts of ‘policing’ methods around, from banning certain sites to only allowing Internet access at lunchtime. What’s your view?

a) I send a few short emails to friends throughout the week – especially on a Friday or if we need to arrange meeting up.
b) I never send any personal emails from work because I know that it is against my employment contract.
c) I love forwarding on those joke emails to my team – I’m sure my boss thinks they’re hilarious! – and I chat with my best friend and boyfriend on MSN all day.

Sending Work Emails

We all have to use emails to communicate with our colleagues and clients, so how do you write yours?

a)I keep it friendly and professional, making sure there are no spelling mistakes and have my contact details clear on each one so clients can get hold of me.
b)I reply to all work emails by 09.00 as I like to arrive early. I also ensure I reply to all emails immediately.
c)I’ve customised my email settings so the text comes up in pink, sparkly writing to match my stationery.

Using Your Mobile Phone at Work

Mobile phones have made life so much easier. There is no point in thinking that you can’t use yours all day – especially if you are running late or are often out of the office – but how do you make sure you’re not over stepping the mark? What answer do you most relate to?

a)I keep my phone switched on all day but keep it on silent so I don’t irritate people. If I can’t answer it when my partner or friends call, I just let it go to voicemail and return the call at lunchtime.
b)I keep my phone switched off all day, checking it for exactly one minute every hour, on the hour, to see if I have an important message.
c)I keep my phone switched on and on my desk – the ‘Barbie Girl’ ring tone really brightens up the office. My friends are always calling to check what we’re doing so I just let someone else answer it if I’m away from my desk for lunch.


So, which one are you? If you answered mainly a) you have a good grip on the reality of using technology in the workplace. It’s great for keeping in touch with friends and clients, but you don’t push it too far.

If you answered mainly b) you may be taking things a little too seriously. Depending on your type of workplace, you may find that people can relate to you a little better if you lighten up.

If you answered mainly c) it is rather likely that you are annoying your colleagues with your ringtone and forwarding silly emails. Try to be a little more professional and you may find that you are taken more seriously in the workplace.

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