Bad text messaging, e-mailing manners can be costly

Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:28pm EDT
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A political coup in New York's statehouse can be traced back to an incident in which a top lawmaker so enraged a wealthy backer by peering at e-mails on his BlackBerry that his patron engineered his ouster.

One of the newer forms of poor office etiquette -- paying more attention to a hand-held device than to a conversation or business meeting -- happens so frequently that businesses are complaining it upsets workplaces, wastes time and costs money.

"It happens all the time, and it's definitely getting worse," said Jane Wesman, a public relations executive and author of "Dive Right In -- The Sharks Won't Bite."

"It's become an addiction," she said.

A third of more than 5,000 respondents said they often check their e-mails during meetings, according to a March poll by Yahoo! HotJobs, an online jobs board.

Such habits have their price, said Tom Musbach, senior managing editor of Yahoo! HotJobs.

"Things like BlackBerries fragment our attention span, and that can lead to lost productivity and wasted dollars because people aren't focused on their work, absolutely," he said.


<p>A competitor types a text message into a mobile phone during a competition in Singapore November 12, 2006. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash</p>