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Rude and overworked? Blame tech

Ann Bednarz | May 30, 2013
Mobile devices to blame for a rise in bad manners, CIOs tell Robert Half Technology.

IT execs say employees are getting ruder on the job, and they're blaming technology for the rise in bad manners. Specifically, mobile technology is leading to more breaches in workplace etiquette, according to survey data from Robert Half Technology.

The IT staffing specialist polled 2,300 CIOs from U.S. companies with at least 100 employees. The CIOs were asked what effect the increased use of mobile electronic gadgets has had on workplace etiquette, and 64% said etiquette breaches have increased. That's up from 51% who said the same thing in 2010. Nearly a third (32%) said etiquette lapses have stayed the same, and 4% noted a decrease.

Work behavior deemed potentially offensive includes: checking email while someone is trying to have a one-on-one conversation; leaving an unnecessarily long voice mail message; paying more attention to a laptop than to a speaker during a meeting; and not turning off a smartphone ringer during an in-person meeting.

Mobile devices have helped people become more productive at work, but also potentially more distracted, according to John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology (RHT). "If you're not fully engaged in a conversation or meeting, you may spend more time replying to emails than listening," Reed said in a statement. "These devices can also make it easier to mistakenly offend colleagues when you fire off a communication too quickly, or use the wrong medium for the message."

Meanwhile, a majority of IT executives today find themselves working outside of traditional business hours—a practice made easier thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices. Polled by RHT, 73% of CIOs said they check in with work "often" or "somewhat often" on evenings and weekends. The remainder said they infrequently (12%) or never (14%) check in outside normal business hours. (1% said they didn't know.)

With after-hours work a reality for most IT leaders, it makes sense that tech pros value the option to telecommute. Earlier this year, RHT reported that 23% of IT workers said the option to telecommute is very important when considering a new job opportunity, and another 52% said a remote working option is somewhat important.


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