Q: What’s the proper use of a speaker phone? A colleague uses hers to listen to voicemail messages and to make all of her outgoing calls so that I can hear the dialing. It’s very distracting and annoying.
A: You’re right. Speaker phones in shared work areas are distracting and annoying. That’s why the speaker option should not be used as a hands-free device for the benefit of one person. If you need to have a meeting using a speaker phone, hold it in an office or a conference room where the phone won’t disturb others. At the start of the conversation, introduce everyone who is present and ask each person to say hello, so the person on the other end of the line can start to identify voices with names. Never use a speaker phone while pretending to be on a regular phone. As for your co-worker, if you want to try to change her behavior, don’t anonymously put this answer on her desk. Instead, talk to her, quietly and privately.