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by Jon Minners | July 25, 2016


Smartphone devices have put technology at our fingertips in a way that has created an addiction to information overload. And the oddest part of it all – many users do not comprehend why the inability to tear their face from the screen may cost them their job. 

A New York Post article titled New Yorkers are losing their jobs over Pokémon GO examined one such instance of when a woman didn’t quite understand why playing the game for 10 hours during three workdays would be grounds for termination. There was also that instance where one Pokemon GO obsessed player just haaaad to capture a Pokemon creature on the boss’ head. They don’t cover that issue in the employee handbook, but it seems obvious that such behavior would be frowned upon.

These are some extreme examples, but it seems a refresher course may be necessary for those who get stupid with their smartphones on how to use these devices in the workplace. Here are six tips to get you started:

Turn Your Ringtone Off…Some people still use their cell phones to make and receive calls and for those people, we encourage you to put your phone on vibrate. First, it’s embarrassing that you use Cake by the Ocean as your ringtone and second, it’s distracting when your phone goes off while others are trying to get work done. It’s actually worse when you leave your phone behind and it just keeps ringing because no one is around to answer it. Just keep it on vibrate – you’ll still get your calls and your co-workers will be able to concentrate on their work. 

Take Your Personal Calls Elsewhere…While some co-workers might find your awkward argument with your spouse or that odd order you make at your local pharmacy funny, but most colleagues would rather you take that call elsewhere. Phone conversations are even more distracting than your ringer. You think you are whispering, but you’re really not and, for some reason, your voice actually gets louder during the most embarrassing parts of the call. Do yourself a favor, and those around you, by simply saying, “hold on a minute,” and taking your call in a more secluded part of the office. 

Fight the Urge to Text Back…Now we get to what smartphones were made for – texting, social media and picture taking. And people looooove texting. It’s almost as if they lose track of what is going on around them; oblivious to their boss standing behind them as they type away some epic text that they will then have to amend when auto-correct makes their rant sound foolish. You need to practice self-control. A text reply can wait. No…breathe…it can. And if you wait to send out a text, you might avoid saying something you can’t take back. If you don’t wait, you may cost yourself a relationship and a job. 

Keep Your Selfie to Yourself…When a former colleague realized her eyebrows looked amazing and she needed to take a selfie right then and there in the office, right out in the open…it seemed odd. But when she had to retake the photo over and over again, it seemed like a complete waste of time. Nothing happened to her, but if her supervisor caught her goofing off, her selfie might make a great LinkedIn profile shot if she ends up having to look for a new job. 

Get Social at Lunch – I guess this can go for Pokemon GO users, too; skipping around on their lunchbreak, wearing their Ash hat as they sing “Gotta Catch ‘em all.” But, when it comes to social media, smartphones have created a “Fear of Missing Out” culture that usually plagued children who didn’t want to go to sleep, because they thought that was when the fun happened. Now, millions of people are scrolling through Instagram and viewing stories on Snapchat, wanting to stay in the know – not just with their friends, but also with celebrities. And with companies checking your browser history, employees think they found a loophole by using their smartphones.  However, have you seen someone using their smartphone to view social media apps? Let’s just say they don’t know how to do so discreetly. Their use is so blatant, it’s almost as if they are asking their employers to fire them. There’s no need to use your phone so much. Wait until lunch or when you leave – Kanye West says something stupid on Twitter all day, so it’s ok to miss one or two misguided tweets in favor of getting work done.      

Get a Job in Social Media…If you can’t stay off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ or Snapchat (that covers all of our channels), then just get a job in social media.  Then, you will always have an excuse for being on your smartphone. “I’m checking the status of our page.” “I’m checking on what our competitor is posting.” “I’m researching our target demographic.” “I’m training so that I can post things faster.” All acceptable excuses when it’s your job to do things others view as goofing off. And, for your Pokemon GO users, you might try, “I set a goal to catch Zapdos and if I capture one during work hours, it will prove I’m the type of person who complete tasks.” See how that works out for you.    

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