When it comes to workplace phone etiquette, the first thing that comes to people’s mind is how to behave properly while having a phone conversation. Granted, acting professionally during a business phone call is important – representing a company in any manner requires that after all – but this is only part of the equation. In fact, even if you act impeccably towards anyone on the other end of the line, disturbing other colleagues by being too loud, conducting personal affairs during business hours, or simply gluing yourself to the smartphone all the time is still an unprofessional way of behaving. However, by setting up certain rules and sticking to them at all costs, businesses can avoid colleagues getting irritated by one another and help to impart respect towards each other – just like a professional.
Five Easy Steps to Establish Workplace Phone Etiquette
1. Watch Your Tone
Callers involuntarily raise their voices in noisier environments like offices, wrongly believing that it may help the situation for the person on the other end of the call. And it definitely raises something – the heads of angry colleagues looking towards your direction. As such, no matter how difficult it might be to hear the other member of the call – whether due to the noisy environment or a poor reception – always make sure to keep your voice down as much as possible.
To achieve this, it’s best to handle calls from a desk phone or use a headset since these devices can suppress noise and, therefore, provide clearer voice quality. In the case of VoIP systems, using the bandwidth saver will prioritize voice traffic over other data packets and improve the call quality.
2. Let There Be No Beep
Although office workers need to tolerate many things, even the calmest of people will admit that the sharp, sudden, and constant ringing of phones is one of the biggest and most obnoxious forms of distraction. However, this is actually something that can easily be eliminated as most modern desk phones have controls for ring volume with which the phone’s ringer can be quietened or even turned off. And before you ask how on earth you are going to notice an incoming call if its ring volume has been reduced, you are assuredly going to hear that ringing if you are close enough to the device, which is quite likely for employees with desk jobs.
Alternatively, there is the option to use headphones plugged into the desk phone or switch to a softphone that can discretely alert users of incoming calls by popping up on a computer’s screen.
3. Put the Cellphone Away…
Unless the mobile phone is used for handling business calls as well – which is likely if it’s functioning as a virtual replacement for an actual desk phone – using cellphones in an office environment should be strictly limited. Being able to check the phone every minute or so has negative consequences on your work performance, but the constant ringing or alert sounds is just as annoying as a loud desk phone is. This is why cellphones should be silenced and/or put in a place where it cannot distract you, such as a drawer, the pocket of your coat, or the bottom of your bag.
4. …But Keep It for Business Texting
Of course if a smartphone needs to be used for business texting purposes, then that’s an entirely different case. That doesn’t automatically mean that personal messages have to mingle with business-related ones to create the ultimate source of distraction, though. In fact, by downloading the softphone app of a VoIP provider users will get access to business texting functionality, providing an optimal channel for exchanging business-related messages with employees and the company’s associates alike. So long as employees don’t peek at their personal messages – or mute their social contacts while at work – then this can be an effective business communication tool.
5. Reduce the Number of Personal Calls
A general rule of thumb in offices is that employees should devote themselves to their work tasks and only deal with everything personal during breaks, which is a rule that should be applied to dealing with calls from family members and friends too. Granted, speaking with your closest acquaintances isn’t completely forbidden, so if you do need to urgently talk to them, then try to find a place where you won’t disturb colleagues and then keep the call short. Additionally, unless it’s allowed by your superiors, it’s best to avoid handling personal calls on your business phone because VoIP system admins may monitor your activities and record calls at any time.
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