Blog Monday: Digital Etiquette

Not sure how to compose a message to your boss? Want to discuss something, but not sure how to word it? How much time should be you spending on your phone at work? This week we’re going to break down some of the digital etiquette barriers and taboos to help you when you’re on placement or in your first job.

Emails

When compiling emails to colleagues, it’s best to be polite but concise with your wording- you don’t need to waffle on for ages and ages if you’re just asking for something. If you’re forwarding something on, or emailing to forward a phone call, then make sure you get all the details in that email- otherwise it’s wasted time for them. You can be informal if you see them day to day, but don’t revert to text speak, or slang if emailing in a professional manner- it’s not a good look. Spelling, punctuation and grammar do matter, especially if you’re asking for something. Manners don’t cost anything in an email either- thank the person you’re emailing if they’ve helped you out, and of course say please when asking for something.

Monitor your tone in emails- you don’t want to get a reputation or appear as being sarcastic or ironic- even if you know the person you’re emailing. It’s easy for comments to get miscommunicated online so keep it professional, but warm. When ending an emailing, it’s best to put “Kind regards”, “Thank you”, “Best wishes” etc, rather than just your name. If you’re new to the company, or on placement, put your signature in your first email ie: Name, Job title, Department, this will allow the wider company to know who you are if you haven’t met everyone yet.

Not every little thing that happens day to day needs to be an email. If you could just pop and see the person you need to speak to in their office, then go over, or pick up the phone. Just don’t be picking up the phone or walking over to the office for every little thing you need to ask!

IM for office use.

Instant messaging for office use is becoming more and more popular as we communicate instantly. As above, however the same rules apply. Yes you may be able to share instant messages, on platforms such as Slack, or Google Chat but you still need to be polite, and professional. These are great platforms to discuss ideas and project work collectively, especially if you work remotely or speak to colleagues in different offices. These can be tracked and you don’t want to appear too over friendly with your colleagues, so keep the chat friendly, but best keep the emoji’s and memes to a minimum.

Social Media

How often should you check your SM pages at work? Should you even log in to Facebook/Twitter desktop, or keep it on your phone? Again, this depends on your job. If you’re working in communications, or a similar marketing role and need to stay up to date with Twitter etc, then it can be easy to become distracted. Limit your time to 30 minutes and stay focussed on why you’re on there, and what you need to post, then get off before you come too distracted.

If you don’t need it for your job role, it’s probably a good idea not to log in on your work desktop, and keep it on your phone. In an ideal world you’ll be too busy to even think about logging in, should there come a time in the work day when it’s acceptable- best to keep it to lunchtime, or at the very end of the day, preferably the very last thing on a Friday afternoon.

Be careful about adding your colleagues on Facebook. Do you really want the guy in finance to know what you’ve been up to over the weekend? When you’re new to a company, you don’t know who is friends with who, and what might get back to your boss or HR and could incriminate you. Best to keep your Facebook completely separate from your professional life. Adding your work crush on Facebook? Best not! Adding your boss on Facebook? Avoid completely.

Phone

How often should you look at your phone at work? Depending on the company you work for they will have different rules. Some have a zero tolerance policy and will ask you to lock your phone away at the beginning of the day. Others won’t let you use them at all around clients. In some jobs you may need it throughout the day.

Employers tend to be flexible about phone use (unless already stated in the company policy), but if you’re getting distracted frequently on WhatsApp – it’s probably best you leave it in your bag and check it on your lunch break.

You won’t necessarily need it when you go to meetings, or leave the office and if someone comes into the office, or is talking to you directly, obviously put it down and out of sight. If you are going to have it on your desk, and look at it (sparingly), then best to keep it on silent! That way the whole office won’t be notified that you’re about to be distracted (if only temporarily).

Work Phones/Tablets/Laptops

If you’re lucky enough to have a laptop, phone or tablet for your work use, and have access to download apps- it goes without saying that be careful what you’re browsing for and what you download. Everything can be tracked and traced back to you, so probably best to keep your dating apps/Netflix/Snapchat/ to your personal phone! This is especially important to remember if you travel for work as well! It has been known for people to be in disciplinary meetings because of their internet history.