I realise that I’m a bit old-fashioned in my ways – for instance, I refuse to drink out of bottles and insist on asking for a glass, often to much eye-rolling from young bar-staff. And I also work alone much of the time, in my own little office where I set the standards and the rules (the usual stuff: dressing-gowns fine until elevenses but no later; Jaffa Cakes may – indeed should – be eaten at the desk, but with a saucer to catch crumbs). So this means that I am rather out of touch with modern office manners, and I need your guidance. Let me elaborate.
Recently I was delivering some AML training, and partway through the session I looked around the room and realised that fully half the people there were looking down at their smartphones and scrolling/tapping away. Now I used to teach teenagers so nothing that adults do actually offends me – I really don’t take it personally. Plus – as the Americans put it so succinctly – it’s their dime, so if they want to pay me to train them and then spend the time instead playing Angry Birds or checking the weather or reading emails, I’m no worse off. But I was just wondering: is this now the norm? Is it accepted that in every meeting the participants will be multi-tasking so openly? Pre-smartphones, I don’t remember people getting out their laptops and doing those things, so has something changed? Is it now the sign of the committed worker, to be seen keeping in touch at every opportunity? Some guidance please, from those of you more intimately acquainted than I am with the mores of the modern workplace. And remember: always a saucer for the Jaffa Cakes.