Every businessperson out there thanks (and curses) the gods of e-mail for enabling instant communication with employees and clients. Every businessperson out there has probably also taken advantage of technological advances and checked e-mail during a meeting/conference/presentation (except last week, when Blackberry suffered an embarrassing service outage).
A survey developed by Robert Half Management Resources, which includes responses from 150 senior human resources, finance and marketing executives, checked in on executives' thoughts on e-mail usage and etiquette.
When asked, "In your experience, how common is it for professionals you work with to read and respond to e-mail messages on their mobile devices during business meetings?" the responses were as follows:
- 53% said that it was very common;
- 33% said somewhat common;
- 9% said somewhat uncommon; and
- 5% said very uncommon. (We'd like to be a fly on the wall at their meetings.)
When asked, "Which of the following most closely describes your reaction when professionals read and respond to e-mail during business meetings?" the responses were as follows:
- 37% said it's okay to read and respond during a meeting, but only if the message is urgent;
- 31% said it's never okay, and that e-mail devices should be turned off during meetings;
- 23% said it's okay to check messages as long as attendees excuse themselves and step outside to do so; and
- 9% said it's perfectly acceptable, especially at a time when what is being said doesn't pertain to them.