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Is the most powerful piece of technology we have interrupting your productivity?
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Is the most powerful piece of technology we have interrupting your productivity?

Is there anything we can’t do with a smartphone? No, really, is there? We saw the smartphone was voted the most influential invention ever by some TV show (sorry, can’t remember which show, Angry Birds intervened). It combines so many of the inventions of the past – phones, GPS, Internet, video games – all into one pocket-sized device. It’s really hard to imagine living without one.

But that brings us to our point – can people really not live without one? We don’t want to be in another meeting (yes, we have meetings) where someone pulls out a phone to check their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or email. Considering how much we’ve learned from instant access to the Internet, we’ve forgotten our most basic forms of courtesy and respect.

We realize there are acceptable times to use your phone in a meeting. If someone asks you about a sent e-mail, or a question that you can quickly answer with a Google search, then that’s OK. But how many times is that the case? Even if you can listen and check a text message at the same time, it doesn’t mean you should. It gives everyone the impression that you are more interested in yourself than what they have to say.

So, how do we fix the problem? While we think it would be funny to text message “r u listening?” to the perpetrator, that’s probably not the path of least resistance. Talk to your boss, ask them to make an announcement about it. A simple message at the beginning of an already schedule meeting will do. Most people don’t realize they’re being rude until it’s pointed out, and since 40% of adults have a smartphone it will not be directed a single person.

We’ve talked a lot about boosting morale with work parties, but you still have to be respectful of each other on a day-to-day basis. A little respect goes a long way, so let’s put the smartphones in our pockets and plot our next move on Words With Friends on our own time, not each other’s.

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