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Many of us are adopting a digital lifestyle that carries over into everything we do. Smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets have become standard for many of us, as we use them for both business and personal to get the job done and stay connected and in the loop on social media and blog reading.

It is a way of life, but can also prove to be difficult while at work. More and more companies are figuring out how to handle the use of gadgets and other devices within the office by employees, and some have even written in policies regarding what can be used at work and how often.

Add to this, many jobs issue smartphones and tablets to their workers as a part of their job. It can be hard to know where the boundaries are drawn.

Using technology and gadgets at work can prove to be an issue. So I’ve written a list of five tips for using technology and gadgets while at work to help you make sure that you are handling these devices in ways that won’t count against you.

1. Know the company policy

Most companies have policies in place regarding the use of cellphones and other personal gadgets while in the workplace. Make sure you are familiar with all of the rules and you are following them accordingly. I have personally fired employees in the past due to misuse of their smartphones or not following the guidelines set forth.

Don’t get yourself in trouble over checking your Facebook status on your phone when you aren’t supposed to be using it while at your desk. Not sure what your company policy is? Check with your manager or your HR department.

 2. Step away from your desk

If you feel the need to use your smartphone or tablet while at work and it is within the rules, try to step away from your desk while using them. This way, you aren’t being too engaged online while at work, and also can’t be called to task for using your devices while “working”.

3. Engage always

The worst thing you can do is be in a meeting or having discussions with your team or coworker, and be seen constantly on your phone or tablet during the meeting. Engage your coworkers. Make eye contact. Don’t get too absorbed on your device. Don’t be that guy or gal!

 4. Use social media wisely

How many times have we heard of people getting fired for improperly using social media when it comes to their jobs? Calling in sick when you are on Facebook stating that you are simply playing hooky because you didn’t feel like coming in. Or posting something negative about your boss only to have someone forward it to him or her.

Be smart. Don’t share things online that could jeopardize your job, and also make sure to not be online too much during the workday (unless your job requires you to). You can always get online after work.

Also, while using company-issued technology (phones, laptops, tablets, and even desktop computers), know that Big Brother is watching. Every site you go to, every email you receive (whether company email or personal) can be checked. Don’t ever visit sites that can be considered “suspect” by your employer.

5. Don’t give them anything to talk about

No matter your level or field, someone is always watching you. Don’t give anyone anything to talk about. Follow the rules. Be mindful of how you are using your cellphone and/or tablets at work. Keep your “play” time to a minimum and demonstrate that you don’t have an issue working at the top of your game while utilizing your personal technology.

We all want to feel tuned in to what is going on, and with the use of smartphones and tablets, we can. But make sure that using these items while at work won’t hinder your performance or cause your employer to scrutinize.

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