Text Your Colleagues—Just Don't Date Them

When it comes to interacting with coworkers, there are certain things you just shouldn’t do. 

1. Date them. For every story you hear about a couple meeting at work and falling madly in love, there are 10 stories of people who met at work, and then broke up, and then had to see each other every single day for eight hours. Most people don’t want to see their current boyfriend or girlfriend for such a long period of time, let alone someone they no longer have any interest in dating.

Yes, it’s hard to meet people, but that’s what co-ed sports teams are for. 

2. Friend them on Facebook. When trying to decide to whether or not to friend a colleague, ask yourself this: “Would I get a beer with this person outside of work—and if I did, would that be appropriate?”

If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t have access to pictures of them drinking said beer with others. It’s kind of like when you were younger and you saw your teacher out in the wild—at Target, for example—and suddenly felt very unsettled. It was unnatural. Ms. Sharpe was your teacher—not a person. You certainly didn’t need to see her stock up on toiletries, just as you don’t need to see pictures of your boss on a romantic getaway in Cabo. 

It’s just…gross.

3. Talk about them behind their back.

Everyone mind their own damn business. Enough said.

Those are three no-brainers, but what about texting? Is it inappropriate, or an innovative method of communication?

Today, many business people and onsite apartment staff find texting to be a more efficient and effective method for giving and sending information on the job.

An informal survey in June of approximately 50 NAA members through email (oops) brought varied responses about what are appropriate and acceptable uses for texting between colleagues or with clients.

Most say texting protocol is not specifically and formally included in their companies’ employee handbooks. Of those who did, employee safety, expense and courtesy were the most common focuses of the regulation language.

Generally speaking, these apartment professionals say texting is not inappropriate during the workday, at least in certain situations or under some circumstances. And many say there is true momentum behind it becoming a primary or preferred communication channel. If nothing else, they say, it has replaced pagers, walkie-talkies and other older, onsite technologies.

On the down side, texting is also void of critical aspects of effective communication that come from expressing human emotions, showing body language and diction. Thus, most management experts agree that employees should never read emotion into an email. The same applies to a text.

Unless, of course, it includes emoticons. 

For more, check out “Is Text Next?” in the July issue of units Magazine, which mails today.