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Q.
My manager has been calling me out for making personal calls at the office to family members about things I feel are important. How can I compromise with her on this issue?

A.
A recent CareerBuilder LLC survey found that 55 percent of employers believe workers' cellphone usage is the greatest cause of a drop in productivity. Furthermore, they feel this decline manifests itself in several ways, including lower morale because other workers have no choice but to pick up the slack.

Your manager no doubt perceives that your phone use is preventing you from completing a fair day's work in exchange for a fair day's pay. My advice, then, is to find a way for you and your manager to objectively determine that you're giving your company what it is rightfully owed.

First, ask her if she can name duties she believes you have missed because of time spent on calls. Carefully note her answers, and assure her that those tasks will be regularly fulfilled within the expected time frame. Second, explain to her that the chaos of your family life has often compelled a constant stream of calls, but that you will curtail them to make sure they don't interfere with work. Finally, establish with your family that phone communications – outside of true emergencies, of course – need to occur at appropriate times, such as breaks and lunch. Within a short time, your manager should be assured you've hung up on what can easily be viewed as a bad habit. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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