Abandon Your RUT™ Addiction.

There’s a good chance that your team members (and yes, that does include you) suffer from an undiagnosed and serious addiction.  Let’s call it the RUT™ Addiction – Rude Use of Technology*. If you’ve ever gone to the bathroom at work (or at a party) to check your email, Facebook or text messages, you are likely a techno-addict.

Bathroom or parties are one thing. But giving into your addiction in a way that is experienced by your coworkers as rude, discourteous or incivil is a completely different matter.

A survey of 1023 Australian folks aged 18 to 65 revealed that 51.7% have secretly checked their phone during a meeting. One in five relayed that they had answered their phone during a meeting, and one in ten admitted to browsing social networking sites, while meetings were taking place. Interestingly, although half of the respondents admitted to having poor phone etiquette on occasion, over a third stated that using phones during work meetings was the most annoying practice of all.

Addictive, rude use of technology goes well beyond the use of mobile devices. It can include, for example, looking at your computer screen while someone is at your workstation or office.


Discussion Questions:

In your team, consider any or all of the following questions:

  1. As you reflect objectively, without blame or finger-pointing, what specific manifestations of the RUT Addiction does your team display?
  2. Comparing the behaviour on your team to the findings of the above study, what differences or similarities do you identify?
  3. What symptoms of the RUT Addiction do you personally ‘suffer’ from? (This is the time to be brutally honest with yourself)
  4. ‘Workplace Incivility’ is comprised of seemingly inconsequential rude or discourteous behaviour, where the intent to harm is ambiguous. Incivility often triggers a spiral effect, whereby those who are subject to it respond with acts of mini-aggression. What spiral effect/s has the RUT Addiction had on your team?
  5. As a team, what are three basic principles you would like to live by that will enable you to handle technology in ways that will lead you all to proudly say: “ours is a respectful workplace and team”?
  6. What three action steps will you take, collectively and/or individually, to integrate the three principles above into your daily work together?

 For more ideas on creating respectful workplaces or to discuss your training needs, please contact us – we’d love to hear from you.

* Credit for the birth of this acronym is due in large part to Patti and Beth at CAMH


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