Email: a Source of Distraction During Meetings

Email: a Source of Distraction During Meetings

Reading emails during meetings? It happens. An independent research, carried out on behalf of Robert Half, concludes that 71% of the HR managers say that employees are regularly replying to emails during meetings.


The opinions vary on whether emailing during a meeting is acceptable: 23% say it is unacceptable and that smartphones and other mobile devices should be turned off during a meeting and that they do not belong in the meeting room. Almost half (45%) feels it is acceptable if employees read and send emails during a meeting, but only if the message is urgent.


"Every company has a different meeting etiquette, but in general it is recommended not to read or answer emails during a meeting", says Stephan Renken, Director of Robert Half the Netherlands. "By sending and reading emails during a meeting, you not only give the impression that you're not interested in what's being said,  but you also risk actually missing out on what's being said. Taking part actively in meetings shows your commitment and increases the productivity and unity of a team and a company as a whole."


Robert Half also gives a few tips:

  • Turn on an out-of-office when you go to a meeting. That way everybody knows that you cannot be reached for some time and cannot answer either.
  • Inform colleagues and if necessary ask them to take over urgent matters.
  • Turn off the sound of your phone and put your device away.
  • If an email or a phone call cannot wait, ask to be excused and step outside for a moment.

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