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Re: Procedures

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I would tend to disagree a bit with the paging vs cellphone argument. It would probably be true if every cellphone had a simple, quiet ring. Unfortunately, people tend to have their cellphones very loud (so they can hear them in busy places/in the car/in their purse), and so many have non-generic ringtones. You may as well be paging someone when "Eye of the Tiger" starts blaring from the other side of the office.

In response to Gary, we're a 4 person office with a "policy letter" which spans just under two pages. We kept it simple for just the reason Don mentioned - we wanted to be a low-maintenance workplace. Don's focus on business calls to the cellphone is probably a bit misplaced in an engineering office like yours. I'm not sure I've ever had a contractor in my office when his or cellphone didn't ring during a meeting. Since there are rarely more than the two of us, I leave it up to the contractor whether to answer it or call the person back. Then again, my meter is running, and there's no "lost" time. For meetings with multiple people, I expect cellphone silence. This is hardly a good example, but at my Rotary meetings, I think there's a $10 "fine" for any cellphone which rings.

As for missing critical calls...I don't answer my cellphone in the office, and specifically ask that people not call my on my cell phone unless there are special circumstances. I bought a pbx which can forward calls to my mobile from the office if I don't answer at my desk (and goes straight to voicemail if I'm on the landline). FWIW I usually have my call on vibrate, and my rigntone - when it's on - is the old (1960s era) ma-bell phone ring.

I think it's perfectly acceptable in a quiet office to request that all cell phones be on vibrate, and on silence in a meeting, though I don't require it. Then again, it hasn't been a problem in my office. Yet.

Jordan



Mark Gilligan wrote:
I have not found cell phones to be a problem even in an open office situation.
What has been a problem is the receptionist paging people over the office intercom to take land line calls. Research has shown that these announcements cause people to loose their focus for about 15 minutes on the average.. So given an office of 20 people with 50% focused on their work you will loose about 150 minutes of productivity. Now compare this to the cell phone which should not be any more disruptive than a land line call. More often than not the individual being paged is a principal who ends up disrupting the work of the staff. The stricter you make the rules the more likely people are going to leave right at quitting time. What is the benefit of an engineer staying an extra half hour to finish something at the end of the day and dosen't bother to bill you for the time. A flexible office environment doesn't mean anything goes, it just means that you focus on the objectives and you talk to the employee if they abuse the flexibility. Mark Gilligan

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