Bad manners with mobiles winds up work colleagues

The majority of UK employees don’t consider the effect their use of mobile devices in the workplace has on colleagues, research reveals.

A survey of more than 5,000 workers, carried out by YouGov and commissioned by T-Mobile, reveals that 61% of respondents admitted to practising bad “mobile manners” such as leaving phones switched on and answering calls in meetings.

Such bad practice is negatively affecting workers, with 17% admitting they are left feeling disrespected or ignored when others practise poor mobile manners.

The majority (87%) of respondents admitted to being irritated when a mobile device rings in a meeting, with 91% feeling angry if the device is answered.

Four out of five office workers (80%) believe it is unacceptable to send or read a text message during a meeting.

However, a little more than one-third (38%) feel that using a laptop during a meeting is unacceptable.

According to the survey, workers want companies to take a role in quashing bad mobile manners, but 55% of respondents said their employer offers no guidance on the appropriate use of mobile devices in the workplace.

Phil Chapman, marketing director of T-Mobile UK, said: “It is important that individuals consider their mobile behaviour and that collectively we raise etiquette standards to ensure that mobile devices enhance our working lives without impinging on them.”

T-Mobile’s top 10 mobile etiquette tips



  1. Ensure your mobile phone is turned off or on silent mode during meetings

  2. Do not answer calls during meetings

  3. Do not send text messages during meetings

  4. Do not leave your mobile device on the table in vibrate mode

  5. If you are expecting an important call during a meeting, let the participants know at the beginning of the meeting. When you receive the call, discreetly excuse yourself from the room

  6. Ask yourself: “Do I really need my mobile device for the time period of this meeting or can I leave it behind?”

  7. Leave laptops closed during meetings. Only open laptops if resources are needed to support the meeting

  8. Don’t check e-mails on either BlackBerry devices or laptops during meetings. If necessary, turn on ‘out of office’ to alert those e-mailing you that you will be in a meeting and are unable to respond immediately

  9. Remember to take your phone with you if you leave your desk, or turn the phone off or onto silent mode

  10. Ask your employer or HR department to provide a policy on the appropriate use of mobile devices in your workplace.

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