Turning Off Electronics Can Be a Real Turn On
It’s amazing how dependent we’ve become on technology and how connected we are to our mobile devices. If you’ve ever left your home or business without your smartphone or tablet, then you know the stress it induces. But what happens in the workforce when employees (primarily the current, younger generation) are asked to engage more directly with their colleagues -- maybe even in face-to-face dialogue. Shocking!
I think that everyone can agree that technology has made our lives more productive and that goes double for the workplace. However, there needs to be a balance. You can’t simply depend on your smartphone (or home Internet for telecommuters) to communicate all the time. On Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) website, an article titled, “5 Keys to Balancing Technology in the Workplace,” it lists some crucial times when genuine, open conversation can actually be more beneficial.
To start, if you’re being spoken to by someone, whether it’s a supervisor, subordinate, or customer, then it’s unbelievably rude to continue flipping through your smartphone even if you acknowledge and answer them. You might as well respond by turning your back. It’s always best to stop whatever you’re doing, put down that phone or tablet, look that person in the face and address them.
Next, let’s say that you’re in an important company meeting, or you’re with a client. It may be better to listen and take hand-written notes like they did before mobile devices went mainstream. This is because, according to some studies, people who do this are able to remember important points better than those who type them into a device. In addition, it’s much quieter. Writing something down using pen and paper is almost silent, while tapping on a mobile device or clacking on a laptop keyboard can be distracting and annoying. Plus, even if you have your device set on “vibrate,” that makes enough of a recognizable noise as to be disruptive.
While banning technology is unrealistic, a company’s C-level executives or middle management can certainly set rules for employees to follow regarding technology, but they must also practice what they preach and inspire staff to accept the fact that technology isn’t always the best way to accomplish something. Good manners and proper business etiquette go a long way in influencing the correct behavior from employees rather than cramming rules down to the masses.