Should You Text Your Boss?

By | Jun 21, 2010

Creative Commons License photo credit: ydhsu

TextingWhile perusing the many blogs that I follow, I saw this blog post on LifeHacker about the etiquette of texting your boss.  It started me thinking about how much technology has changed during my career and how we respond to it as Administrative and Executive Assistants.  Using text messages is a good example of technology that we can embrace.

Like all technology, though, texting can be good and bad.  You need to have guidelines to follow when using texting to contact your boss.  Some of the questions/guidelines I can think of would be:

  1. Always ask the boss if texting is acceptable.  Some digital plans charge extra for text messages, so make sure his plan covers it.
  2. If your boss is using a company provided phone, make sure you know the company policy about texting.  There may be guidelines and limitations on use of text messages.
  3. Have guidelines for when texting is appropriate.  For instance, use texting when you need to contact your boss urgently, but she is in a place where she can’t answer her phone.  If the issue isn’t urgent, then perhaps e-mail is a better method of contact.  Discuss this issue with your boss.
  4. Regardless of the way you use text messaging in your personal life, avoid using text slang when sending text messages at work.  First, not everyone understands text-speak, and “4” and “ur” just look completely unprofessional.  Spell out your words.
  5. Regardless of what the survey says, you should NEVER ask for a raise by text message.  Seriously.

Since this is an area where few guidelines tend to exist, what do you think?  What guidelines do you think are needed for texting the boss?  Leave a comment with your ideas.  If you are reading this post in your e-mail or blog reader, click through to the Administrative Arts website to leave a comment.

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4 Comments so far
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jodith, Jodith Allen. Jodith Allen said: New AdminArts Post: Should You Text Your Boss? […]

  2. Lisa (4 comments) June 21, 2010 4:06 am

    My boss, who is the director of operations for our distribution center, and I text eachother, although not frequently. I text to let him know if I’m running late, and he texts me the same. I’ll also text him if he’s in a meeting and receives an important phone call (i.e. a call from HIS boss) or if he’s not in his office and I have the answer to a “hot” question. Since he is often in the warehouse when he’s away from his office, it is often not effective for me to go looking for him. However, one guideline I would also use in addition to the formality of the matter to be discussed is the formality of your relationship with your boss. If your boss prefers that you call them Mr. or Mrs. XYZ, then texting is probably out of the question. If your boss lets you call them by their first name or a nickname, they’re probably going to be okay with texting (assuming that they know how and have this capability). For instance, I call my boss by his first name, but I call HIS boss Mr. ___. I would never think to text his boss, regardless of whether or not he likes texting or how informal the matter is.

  3. Jodith (189 comments) June 23, 2010 8:04 am

    Thanks for commenting, Lisa. You’re right, the formality of your relationship with your boss will affect how you communicate a great deal.

  4. Nimo (2 comments) January 11, 2011 10:22 am

    Before or after office hours & when my boss is travelling abroad to attend company meetings – I prefer to text my boss unless I want the answer qucikly or need to inform him about something urgently. I try not to use text language unless I am exceeding the 160 characters limit by a few letters.
    Some bosses my not have a habit of checking their phones frequently for text message in which case its advised to call and ensure the message is conveyed.
    Also not advisable to text your boss that you’re on leave ‘today’..thats really rude! He may have something important or urgent lined up for that day and you can help him delegate the task or ask one of your admin friends to help him out if you are unable to complete it.

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