Disconnect to build better work relationships

Image by Michael Giuffrida about collaborationTechnology is great.  Without some of the tools we have today such as smart phones, tablets and laptops, we couldn’t do half of the things we do everyday or be able to do them at our own leisure.  However, even though we are all aware of the presence of technology while in meetings and while walking around the office, it can still be insulting to be interrupted or ignored due to our high tech “friends”.

Here are a few tips for retaining the business manners you had before we had all of these distractions:

  • While walking through the hallways at the office, keep your phone in your pocket.  You can check your email or return that text when you back to your desk.  Use the travel time to smile at your co-workers and say hello.  This will take you much further when you are working as a team and need to be productive together than answering that email one minute earlier would have accomplished.
  • Go old school when taking notes at a meeting, especially a sales meeting.  Despite the efficiency of typing your notes directly into your tablet or laptop during the meeting, it can be very distracting to others and seem as though you are not paying very close attention to someone who is speaking.  This is especially true if there are people on the phone attending via conference call as all they will hear is the incessant clacking of your keyboard.  Write it down, and type it later.
  • Be more than silent with your phone.  Vibrate mode is not enough when you are at a meeting if your phone is wriggling around the table and you keep checking it.  If there is something important you are waiting for (such as a diagnosis on your child’s doctors visit), notify your meeting mates at the beginning of the meeting and only react to those messages.  Otherwise, leave the phone off, or in do not disturb mode for them meeting.  These people scheduled time with you, others can wait.

While some of these things seems like common sense, its not all that uncommon to experience these insults on an average work day.  Try disconnecting for a few minutes and you may be surprised what you can do with some much better work relationships.

Michael Giuffrida from Southington CT has been operating businesses since 1997.  He is an experienced entrepreneur in business management, profitable growth, business valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and information technology managed services.

8 thoughts on “Disconnect to build better work relationships

  • Mike this is really great. It is common sense but very often ignored. The little things in life make a huge difference especially in crunch time!

  • Great tips Mike! I feel that as the newer generation that grew up and started in their professional careers being totally connected, seem to not know about these types of general curtsies. Or they are in general just being lost. I recently sat with a client doing a presentation and the whole time their phone was pinging and dining on the table. I found it very disruptive and I had at times lost my train of thought due to their phone. So on top of you taking time away from someone that has asked for you time. You may very well be taking their time away from them.

  • There was a company that made a rule that on Fridays the employees needed to walk over and talk to their coworkers.

  • Even though these tips are for business, they also apply to everyday-everywhere. I sat in a restaurant and across from me was a young couple…each texting on their phone. Next to them was a man talking, quite loudly, on his phone. Needless to say I was extremely annoyed. I think the days of dining in peace are over. This applies to many other things as well… grocery shopping, banking, hairdresser, and the list goes on. Common sense and courtesy just don’t exist in today’s world! Am I showing my age?

    • If you are showing your age then I must be showing mine as well because I couldn’t agree more about how folks today seem to have forgotten how to be actually social instead of electronically social in all aspects of life.

  • Excellent!
    I’m finding it’s more important than ever to be really mindful about the ways we use technology. This is especially important when we’re communicating with colleagues. Just because it’s convenient, does not mean it’s best! I agree Mike, unplugging can be constructive and refreshing.

  • Points well taken Mike. Smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc. are all great tools that help us to become more effective at our work. But they are tools. When these devices start to control us and are every waking moments, that is a problem. Real problems are solved by people not machines.

  • LOVE this advice, especially about using your travel time to say hello to coworkers. Innovation is critical to stay ahead in any technology based business (or, I suppose, any business period) and it’s difficult to innovate when you aren’t engaged with your team, or are splitting your brain power between innovation and the four texts you just received.

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