CAUTION College Students: E-Etiquette Matters

17 Apr

Electronic devices are part of every college student’s life: they rely on their phones to find out about events on Facebook, check email, respond to texts and make or receive phone calls. The e-etiquette in the business environment is more controlled and tracked, so college students should be well-informed of the changes ahead.

College E-Etiquette Today

College e-etiquette revolves around casual, constant use of electronic devices. It is difficult for college students to transition from their current behavior to that which is expected in the workplace environment:

“[Company] policies [curtail college students] use behavior: …instant communication, individuality, and creativity are valued…this adjustment can be difficult…requires a paradigm shift from a “free-range” approach to…more controlled, company-centered, and productive approach” (Langland).

There are some key e-etiquette expectations that college students should be aware of in the workplace environment. The next section will outline what college students should keep in mind on day one of their new job or internship.

Workplace E-Etiquette Tips

College interns and new hires should check their company policy and be wary of the e-etiquette expectations and concerns at the workplace.  Everyone is expected to tune into work, so here are some general points to keep in mind at the workplace (Langland):

  • Security Expectations
    • Lock any corporate-issued device with password;
    • Do not share passwords with anyone;
    • Do not download any programs or applications before checking your company’s policy.
  • Property Concerns
    • Any device issued to you by the company is subject to tracking;
    • All online activity is scrutinized by corporate;
  • It is rude to use the washroom for talking on the phone;
  • Do not lay out your phone in front of co-workers;
  • Record a professional greeting for your work: “What’s up? This is Todd” is unacceptable;
  • Do not use any corporate issued device for personal use.

College students should be careful in how they use electronic devices at work because the micro-messages they send by misusing devices, or the inattentiveness they show during a meeting can be detrimental to how others perceive their professionalism.

by Aditi Gupta


Langland, Meg. “Evolving e-Etiquette in the Workplace.” March 2009. National Association of Colleges and Employers. 19 March 2012. <;

Pandit, Madhura. “Phone Etiquette At Work.” 27 Sept. 2011. 19 March 2012.


2 Responses to “CAUTION College Students: E-Etiquette Matters”

  1. Lyndsey Douglas April 18, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    Aditi, your post brings up a very important point that many young adults face today. Our culture is so focused around electronics that we often forget to change our etiquette when transitioning from our personal lives to our careers. For instance, many college students will share a meal with friends while simultaneously checking messages on their phones. This is definitely not appropriate in the business setting! It would be considered rude to check your phone while speaking with managers and co-workers.

  2. Cheyenne Owens April 23, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    I agree, it’s so important to change etiquette once you’re at work. I think two other good points you made are that you should never use a company device for personal use and that communications from these devices are subject to tracking. This issue brings to mind a case study from class. A college coach,who attempted to send out an inappropriate email to the mother of one of his players through his school account, accidentally had it emailed to the entire school. It pays to be wary when using business devices for something other than business.

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