Working in my field (I.T.) these days is wonderful…huge advancements in the way we work have been made. Example: Working from home. Gone are the requirements of the 1950’s workplace: Getting dressed up, fighting traffic all the way to a building downtown, sitting in a depressing cube under fluorescent lights, only eating or talking to others at designated times, then fighting the same traffic all the way home.
Now, at least a couple of days per week in my case, I can relax in the morning and help get the kids ready for school. Then, I can stay in my pajamas and sit at the desk in my bedroom, with natural sunlight, and the sliding door open and the birds chirping outside, and “Let’s Make a Deal” making cheerful noise in the next room, and get the same work done as if I’d trekked into the Corporate Center.
This brings some etiquette challenges with it.
So, I have my office desk-phone forwarded to my cellphone. That way I don’t have to give my personal cell number to anyone from work, but I can still get work calls…pretty standard stuff, really. Also, since I’m in my house, there’s nobody to tell me when I can or can’t, you know…go to the bathroom.
I think you see where I’m going with this. I have two examples, separated by a few years.
A few years ago, I was standing there, taking care of my #1 duty (heh heh…duty) when the phone rang in my pocket. So I answered it, without thinking. The last few ounces of Victoria Falls splashed down while I said “hello” and I hit the silver lever while I said “Ambulatory Team.”
“Um…did I catch you at a bad time?” It was the Director of one of our departments.
“Nope,” I chirped, “everything’s fine.” I realized what she’d heard after 3.2 seconds. It was an awkward call after that.
Skip forward to today. I had just done The Deed, and besmirched some rolled paper products when my cell phone rang in my pocket. I answered it while I reached for the Dreaded Silver Handle…
…but I saw that it was work, and I aborted the mission. I talked work-talk for a minute without giving a clue as to my particular location, then AFTER hanging up, I flushed and walked out.
So that’s my lesson for you, kids. If you answer your work-phone in the bathroom, don’t make dribbly or flushy noises and hopefully the echoey acoustics won’t give you away. And then you can talk to anyone in your company up to and including the CEO with your pants around your ankles, while doing exactly what you think of them. And that makes anyone’s day better.