The Website and Blog of HR Author and Speaker Lori Kleiman

To Control Technology… Or Not?

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Technology is entering the workplace faster then managers can keep up with the changes. I recently saw an article talking about employees using fit bit, smart watches and other personal devises to record workplace activities. Studies show that people check their smartphone 150 times a day. Think about it…150 times in a day is only about once every 6 minutes during your waking hours. People want to feel connected, and they are using technology to do that.

What is the policy in your organization? Many managers want to ban the use of smart phones and other electronics in the workplace. But is that going to accomplish your goals? I know, that if I am not checking every couple of minutes, I am sure I am missing something. Study after study shows that forbidding smart phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc. at the work station actually reduces productivity. Why – because they are going to check, and if you don’t allow it, they will leave their desk, go to the washroom our outside and be gone 15 minutes to see what they are missing – instead of the 2 minutes it would take at their desk.

As we look at the trends that are impacting business today and in the future, we see the advances in personal devices as a major force to be addressed. In May, I wrote about the megatrends impacting business and technology and the digital footprint of work is a major factor.

The real question to ask yourself and your leadership team is whether the job is getting done, and is there any issue of security that goes with employees having their own devices in your business. In organizations where security and privacy is an issue, there could be reasons to limit the access to personal devises in the workplace. Obviously we all want to be sure that our employees are able to copy customer lists, record meetings with managers and take photos of production processes. At the same time, what is the real likelihood that is the goal? And can’t many of these illicit activities be conducted with the technology they are already using in their daily function?

I always believe that we need to create policies to support the goals of the organization and manage expectations. There is an excellent article and infographic on the subject here. If there are a few bad apples on your team – deal with them quickly and harshly. But consider that allowing the larger employee population to have and access their personal devises at work might actually increase productivity and enhance the relationship you have with your team.

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