Studies has shown that the majority of people find it inappropriate to answer phone calls, write texts or emails or even read them during meetings, even if the meeting is being held offsite. The more money people make the less they approve of smartphone use during meetings.
I have found that Millennials are three times more likely than those over 40 to think that smartphone use during meetings is acceptable. This is ironic considering Millennials are highly dependent upon the opinions of their older colleagues for career advancement.
Using your Smartphone in meetings generally creates the impression that there is a lack of respect and that you consider the information on your phone to be more important than the conversation at hand. It can also create the feeling that there is a lack of attention and that you are unable to stay focused on one thing at a time.
At the same time there could be the feeling that you lack self-control and responds to the whims of others through the buzz of your phone.
It is important to understand how ridiculous your behaviour look to other people and how your behaviour affects those around you as Smartphone use in meetings is one of the most common co-worker complaints.
There is no “hard and fast “rule when it comes to using or not using Smartphones in a meeting. We are living in a technological world and it is frightening how many times you walk past a table of people eating lunch and every one of them is texting or e-mailing. I am sure that at some point we have all been guilty of this offense, however in the workplace, work needs to get done (often in a team setting) and attention needs to be paid to the matter at hand.
I agree there are some circumstances where it can be forgiven, and sometimes Smartphones can be a useful tool — to take notes for example but we just have to be mindful of when we use it and how we use it.
So in conclusion there is no rule. It comes down to social awareness and taking note of the people around you and their views on the subject. Superiors should be transparent with their staff members and upfront on what is expected of them when it comes to cell phone use in the workplace.