I’m a huge fan of technology when it can help a business owner or employee. But I’m not so sure that our reliance on these devices doesn’t produce a negative effect on our businesses.
I can remember when I started work (and OK this is going to show how long ago it was…) we shared a pc between 2 people. Which meant that you couldn’t check for email every time it went “ping”? So we checked email 3 times a day and then the PC to work on for either the morning or the afternoon. It wasn’t long after I started that we had a PC per person and then it became that email seemed to take over, and people expected a response almost immediately.
I did manage to get back to just checking it 3 times a day (first thing in the morning, lunchtime and then late afternoon – but not last thing or I’d always end up being late going home) during another job and actually noticed how much easier it became to concentrate on certain jobs when the irresistible call of the “you’ve got mail” ping was missing.
But these days it’s not just email. Now I notice how intrusive social media has become into our everyday, let alone business, lives. And also the importance we give it.
It used to annoy me that a phone call took precedence over the conversation I was already having with somebody – why was the person on the phone more important than me? Nowadays it seems to be that any notification from a smartphone seems to be more important than the person you are with. How many times are you in the pub or a restaurant and you see a couple, not talking to each other, both engrossed with their individual phones. Half the time I’m convinced they’re sending messages to each other! And when was the last time you went to a business meeting without someone in the room surreptitiously, or not so clandestinely, checking their phone while someone else was talking.
So what happened to business a couple of weeks ago when blackberry users suffered such problems? Did the world end? Did business stop happening? Well I admit it was an inconvenience and Yes I did lose a piece of work BUT it showed me how much time I actually spend just “checking my phone” and yes I missed Twitter desperately ,and lost lots of points by not being able to check in on Foursquare. But did my business collapse – no. Did any of my clients disappear– no. We were all frustrated but actually the consensus is that we got more done and actually spoke to some clients instead of emailing them.
Perhaps we should remember that they are called Smart PHONES for a reason and we can use them for calls more often than we do, but also that they are there to help us and support our businesses and not rule our lives and shouldn’t be allowed to intrude into our working time in the way that they do. They are tools to support us, not to overwhelm us.
So who runs your business? You? Or your choice of technology?
(original article available here)