Smartwatch etiquette: 5 things you shouldn’t do with your wearable technology at work

It’s new, it’s fresh and there are also a lot of questions surrounding the appropriate use of it.

You’re in a meeting. All eyes are on you while you’re pitching a new proposal. Only, you notice your boss is constantly glancing at his wrist. And at some point, tapping and swiping on his watch. Is he bored and ready to leave the room? Look closer. Because it’s not what it seems. He’s actually reading your presentation right off his wrist.

Welcome to the age of wearable tech. And a new era of constant distraction. Essentially, this means more gadgets will vie for your attention. But ultimately, it’s still a distraction while you’re at work so here are some tips on wielding your smartwatch in the workplace.

Leave it alone during meetings

If it’s socially unacceptable to use a smartphone during a discussion, the same rule applies here. The act of turning your wrist, taking a quick glance at your watch and swiping notifications is in itself a distracting move. For that matter, picking up a call and answering through your smartwatch or even Google Glass is going to get plenty of unwanted attention. If you really need to do that, at least do it in the confines of your own private corner.

One glance

If you really, really need to sneak a peek at that incoming email, just one quick glance. That’s it. You might be tempted to tap on that notification to read it. Fight the urge. Because it’s a slippery slope, and before you know it, you’ll be flipping your phone over to reply that email. And feel the stares of your colleagues while they notice you’re no longer paying attention.

Don’t talk to your smartwatch

Yes, smartwatches are linked to your smartphones via Bluetooth. Heck, they might even have their own SIM card for cellular calls. No, you should not bring your wrist close to your mouth and start speaking to it. You would think you look all cool and suave like Dick Tracy, but in reality, it’s just going to make you look like a weirdo in the office.

Don’t be a voyeur

Wearable tech is, as mentioned previously, an extension of your smartphone. At times, it could be a mirror of what your mobile device can do. Think photography. Except, its dainty size makes it easy to snap a picture without being noticed.

Don’t. Because this borders on the realm of stalker behaviour. Privacy is still a first and foremost concern in the work environment. Even if it wasn’t for the confidential nature of your work, at least value the privacy of your fellow colleagues – ask before you snap.

Don’t check work emails on it

Wearable tech is still far from being widely adopted by the mainstream market. That immediately translates to a low adoption rate of the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy in the workforce. Given how closely guarded emails are by the IT department, it’s highly unlikely that you can access them on a smartwatch.

But there are some individuals who find workarounds, such as email forwarding to your personal address, that’ll allow you to read their email notifications on wearable tech. It sounds like an absolutely wonderful solution, but you’re putting confidential information at risk.

Yet, like smartphones, the issue doesn’t lie with the product. You need a paradigm shift in your mindset, the way you approach the use of these smart accessories. There will come a need to set some ground rules in using wearable technology, especially in the workspace. After all, you won’t want to have someone walk into a meeting, check their WhatsApp messages or take photos on the sly.

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