September 7, 2010 by MSI
Personal computers, laptops, cell phones, Internet, instant messaging, texting, tablets – has technology evolved to a point where we have lost our ability to interact directly? Are we so busy multi-tasking amongst various technologies that we are unable to have a meaningful one-on-one personal conversation? I myself am a victim of too much technology. I did it last night. Thanks to the evolution of the headset, I was able to talk on the phone with my mother while putting groceries away and making chili. I am doing it right now. As I draft this blog I have two laptops going in my office.
Reflecting on how manic technology often makes me, I also am thinking of how it impacts the workplace. We have all witnessed, probably within the past week, someone in your organization who takes calls and responds to emails during a meeting. It may have even been you. Because everyone, or nearly everyone, does it, it’s become more of the rule than the exception, which leads me to the question, “Is there a correct ‘tech’iquette for the workplace?” While it may not be corporate policy, as a human being, there are certainly some best practices that we can all employ to ensure a professional ‘tech’iquette in the office.
- Meetings: While maximizing efficiency is great, showing respect to a co-worker is also critical. When you are in a meeting or if someone stops by your cube or office, show him or her the appropriate level of respect by shutting off or closing your computer and not answering your phone or responding to emails while you are meeting.
- Conference calls or web-events: Even though the other parties cannot see you physically, the same rules apply as with meetings. If you are going to take the time to participate, remain 100 percent focused on the topic at hand and not distracted sending emails or sending text messages.
- Communications: We have been so reliant on the quick form of communication, whether it be text or email, that we often forget that personal conversations are also an option. Take time each day to, in lieu of sending an email, walk over to someone and ask the question. Also remember that messages in electronic form as subject to greater interpretation as they are delivered without emotion, so for any delicate messages, it’s always best to deliver those in person.
It’s really a game of balancing technology, and all the positives it brings to life both professionally and personally, with our daily human interactions. If you stop first, slow down, and think before you rush to grab your Blackberry, iPhone or Droid, then you will be more apt to make the right decision as to the medium for the moment. Embrace technology, but don’t forget that a handshake and eye-to-eye contact also goes a long way.