WEB & TECH / JAN. 14, 2015
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How to Make the Most of a Smartphone in the Workplace

There’s no doubt that smartphones can make your life easier – and that includes your work life. Still, there are many distractions and time-wasters that come with having constant connectivity, so here are some ways to make the most of your smartphone in the workplace.

Establish a connectivity timeframe.

Just because you’re constantly connected to the workplace via your smartphone doesn’t mean you should be working all the time. Sure, you might be able to send an email when you’re on the train at the end of the day, or add items to your work calendar right before bed, but don’t expect your co-workers to be constantly vigilant. To ensure there are some boundaries between everyone’s personal and professional lives, set connectivity hours, during which you can expect a response. The hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., for example, might allow people to have time for a family dinner without having to deal with workplace interruptions.

Look for apps that make your job easier.

Some of the reference material that you might have had to find in a heavy book can now be found in industry-specific apps. If you’re a medical professional, you might be able to access tools that assist you with diagnostics or with choosing the right medication for a patient. If you’re a journalist, there are apps for recording interviews and making notes. If you’re not sure what’s out there, ask around among your colleagues, or poll the group of any association to which you belong. Some professional apps may cost money, and if the cost is significant, ask your employer to foot the bill.

Set task reminders.

To keep you on task and doing your duties in a productive timeframe, look for an app that times your tasks and sounds an alert when you’re supposed to be done. When you have many duties to juggle, this can help you from wasting time. There are also productivity apps that can help you gauge how much you’ve gotten done on a particular day, and then lets you compare that to other days.

Block social sites.

Speaking of wasting time, also look for apps that block social media sites during certain times of the day, so that you’re not wasting your time chatting with friends or posting pictures when you should be working.

Establish a protocol for using smartphones during meetings.

If you’re waiting for an important business call during a staff meeting, alert the others of what’s happening, but have that phone on vibrate, and sit near the back of the room so you can leave quickly when the call comes in. In general though, you and your employers should come up with a policy that reduces distraction during meetings, such as asking everyone to put their phones in silent mode, or leaving them at their desks.

Give clients, customers and co-workers your full attention.

With smartphones that beep with every new message, it can be tempting to address that new message the second it comes in. When it comes to mobile phone etiquette, however, that’s a big no-no. Your clients, customers and co-workers will find it quite rude indeed for you to be constantly looking at your phone during a meeting, or to be texting while you’re in conversation. Thus, resist the urge to use your phone when you’re working with someone one-on-one. If you’re sitting at a table or desk with someone, have the phone put away or face-down to avoid the distraction.

Keep spyware and anti-virus software up to date.

If you’re using a smartphone for work, chances are you’re handling some information that could be damaging to the company if put in the wrong hands. Ask your employer to help you choose the right virus and spyware protection tools, or have your employer install them. 

With a few extra considerations, you can really make your smartphone work well for you in the workplace.

Image source: IBM MobileFirst

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