postheadericon How to Avoid Playing Phone Tag at Work

Phone tag sounds like a fun game, but it’s not. It occurs when you need to call someone regarding your work, but the other person isn’t at her desk when you call. You’re not at your desk when she calls back, then she’s not at her desk when you call again. Sometimes it may take several days before you’re able to talk to the other person, and you may not be able to complete your work in the meantime.

How to Avoid Playing Phone Tag at Work

1 Avoid calling at the start of the work day, just before or just after lunch, or at the end of the day. These are the times when an office employee is most likely to be away from her desk and have her mind on other things. Give her a chance to settle in after arriving in the office and don’t try to catch her as she’s trying to wrap up her work and leave.

How to Avoid Playing Phone Tag at Work

2 Leave a message, preferably on the other person’s voicemail. Try not to leave a message with a receptionist or secretary, who will be annoyed at having to take a message down and may make an error.

How to Avoid Playing Phone Tag at Work

3 Include your name and phone number in every message so the other person won’t have to look it up before calling you back. Speak very clearly in case her voicemail tends to garble messages.

How to Avoid Playing Phone Tag at Work

4 Make what’s called a presumptive appointment in your voicemail message. Tell the person you want to contact that you will call back at a specific time. This gives her the opportunity to arrange her schedule so she’ll be available when you call back.

How to Avoid Playing Phone Tag at Work

5 Give the person a specific time to call you back, and make sure you’re at your desk during that time. She is probably as frustrated with playing phone tag as you are. If you demonstrate that you will be available at the specified time, she’ll be encouraged to call you at that time.

How to Avoid Playing Phone Tag at Work

6 Invite the other person to simply leave the information you need on your voicemail. Be specific about what you need and when in your message to her, rather than simply say, “Give me a call.”

How to Avoid Playing Phone Tag at Work

7 Consider using the Internet to find out when the other person is at her desk. If she’s logged into VOIP system (voice over Internet protocol), a social networking site or an instant messaging service, you know she’s at her desk. You can send a quick text message first, asking if she’s available to take a phone call.

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