Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/23/mobile_phone_users/

Mobile users are bloody rude: official

Brit workers suffer etiquette failure

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 23rd September 2005 10:17 GMT

It's official: the UK's estimated 65 million mobile phones - or rather their users - are a pain in the bloody arse, irritating their fellow man with their complete lack of consideration for others when jabbering away into their devices.

That's according to a T-Mobile survey - conducted "between 27 July and 1 August 2005 from a nationally representative sample size of 5,116 participants" by YouGov - which has found that 62 per cent of Brit workers endure bad "mobile habits" in the workplace, eg: colleagues answering calls or reading texts in meetings. Sixty-one per cent of respondents admitted to this particular outrage, oblivious to the 87 per cent who said taking a call in a meeting was poor form, and the 80 per cent who reckon reading or answering a text in the same context is just not on.

Accordingly, 37 per cent said they "make an effort to switch devices off during meetings and admit to feeling embarrassed if their device rings during a work meeting".

Interestingly, if 61 per cent of UK workers have yakked away during a meeting, but at the same time 87 per cent simultaneously suppress the urge to shove the mobile up the offender's backside, then there is a hefty percentage of people who, while infuriated by other people's transgressions, simply go ahead and do it themselves.

Naturally, the pollees can't just turn their own phones off - they want management to provide guidlines on acceptable use. Seventy-three per cent of (media industry) respondents said their employer "does not offer guidelines on the use of mobile phones at work". It's scarcely better in the IT industry, where 65 per cent recorded a similar lack of advice.

Forty-one per cent, meanwhile, voted in favour of such guidelines "hoping to raise the standards of mobile manners".

For those currently awaiting instructions from above, T-Mobile offers a handy list on how to avoid infuriating your co-workers:

  1. Ensure your mobile phone is 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 emails on either BlackBerry devices or laptops during meetings. If necessary, turn on ‘Out of Office’ to alert those emailing 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

All of which can be condensed into the employee-friendly: "Turn the f**king thing off".

Phil Chapman, Marketing Director, T-Mobile UK, commented: "There are now over 65 million mobile phones in use in the UK. However, T-Mobile has noticed..."

Sorry Phil, got an important call coming through. Talk amongst yourselves for a minute... ®