10 Key Guidelines to use Internet and cell phone use at work

Using your cell phone on campus is often the best way of keeping in touch with your friends and classmates. However, in the business world, inappropriate cell phone use can be annoying and disruptive for your colleagues, and be a waste of your company's time. Using correct cell phone etiquette, however, can help you project a more professional image – it demonstrates that you're considerate and know how to treat others in the office with respect.

You should follow a number of basic guidelines regarding cell phone use at work:

  • turn your cell phone ringer off during normal work hours – Leaving your phone ringing at your unoccupied desk is likely to irritate your colleagues, especially if you have a trendy or humorous ringtone. Unless you have your own private office, you should turn your cell ringer off or at least set it to vibrate.
  • avoid any unnecessary personal cell phone chats – You must reduce any unnecessary calls to help you get the most out of your workday, and to create the right impression. Try to limit your cell phone use to important calls only. If you're in doubt about whether a call is important, let it go to voicemail, and check it later during your work break.
  • don't send private text messages – Sending private text messages during work hours may be considered poor work ethic. It's a waste of your boss's time, and may distract you from the job you're there to do. Instead, wait until your lunch or work breaks to send any personal text messages.
  • find a private place for making personal calls – If you must make a personal call, do so somewhere away from your desk. Find a quiet, private area where you won't distract your coworkers.
  • don't bring your personal cell phone to meetings – Taking a cell phone call during a meeting isn't only rude; it may send a signal to your boss that you're not taking your job seriously. This can damage your professional image and your career prospects. It's best to just leave your cell phone at your desk and check for any calls after your meeting. Don't put your phone on vibrate during your meeting – you may be tempted to see who's calling you and lose your concentration.

Social Media in the Workplace

Social media can be an enjoyable way of keeping in contact with friends and classmates on campus. It allows you to express feelings, and let others know what you're doing. In the business world, it enables companies to market their brands more cost-effectively. That's why it's important that you consider what you publish online; not only can it be traced back to you, it can also affect your and your organization's professional image.

When posting comments on a social media site, there are several important guidelines you should follow:

  • avoid publishing disrespectful information about your company – Using social media to vent frustration against employers or colleagues not only shows a lack of professionalism, but can also be costly for the company involved. To project a more professional image, you should make sure to address any grievances to your employer in person and in a calm and polite manner.
  • keep confidential information private – When using social media, it's easy to inadvertently disclose vital information that belongs to your company or its clients. Information leaks, whether intentional or unintentional, are potentially dangerous to the success of a company's products or services, and you could also be guilty of violating a contractual agreement.
  • be aware of the effect on your professional image – When posting information online, always consider the impact on your professional image. While publishing information about your social life may be acceptable in college or university, your employer will hardly be impressed if you post questionable photos of your work night out. Any images you post should be tasteful and show you and those around you in a positive light.
  • make sure you avoid posting any offensive comments – Anything you publish online may also be visible to your colleagues and clients, so try to remain calm before having an angry outburst you may later regret. Never fire off an irate message in the heat of the moment – wait until you've cooled down, and discuss your problem face-to-face with the relevant person.

To project a professional image, you should consider your use of cell phones and social media in the workplace. Show respect for your coworkers by turning your cell phone ringer off, and by avoiding unnecessary personal phone chats. Try to avoid sending private text messages during work hours, and find a quiet, private place to make calls from. And above all, make sure you turn your cell phone off during meetings.

Social media is another means of communication that should be used carefully. Important guidelines are to avoid publishing disrespectful information about your company that may damage its reputation. Respect confidential information that has been entrusted to you or your company, and don't post anything that may harm your professional image. Finally, if expressing your opinions, ensure that you refrain from making personal or offensive remarks.