Technology in the office: Distraction or enabler?

Is social media becoming more and more of a distraction in the office? Lee Biggins advises on best practice to get the most out of your workforce.

There is a wealth of new technology out there designed to make us more productive. From mobile apps, to improved WiFi on the go, we are constantly seeing the development of new technologies, which aim to help us be more efficient and to work from anywhere, at any time. But with this comes an increasing amount of distraction. Nowadays you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone with their head in their phone and there’s an ongoing debate around how social media is actually making us less sociable in ‘real’ life!

This got me thinking. While technology is supposed to enable us to do more, in less time, is it actually having the opposite effect? And is social media becoming more and more of a distraction in the office and beyond? Below, I discuss this in more detail and offer my advice on best practice to get the most out of your workforce:

Implement rules

It’s important to set out the rules around technology in the office. In my company, social media and the use of mobile phones during working hours is strictly banned. While this might sound like overkill – it helps us to achieve a lot in the hours that we work in. My employees work strictly 9-5.30pm, no one is expected to come in early or stay late and the majority of the team work on desktop computers – meaning they aren’t in any danger of taking their laptop home to work even longer! Having a ban on sites like Facebook and Twitter means that all of my employees are extremely productive throughout the working day, and can then leave at 5.30 and switch off for the evening; a winning formula, in my eyes.

Agree on your lines of communication

In the good old days, if you wanted something from a colleague, you’d either shout across your desk, or get up and go and ask them! Nowadays, we’re so bogged down with instant messaging, and email, that in some workplaces; employees are barely coming up for air. Encouraging your employees to talk in person is essential. Especially as conversations can often become blurred or misconstrued over email. That’s not to say that employees have to speak face-to-face all the time, but creating a balance is important. For example, if it’s a quick question, then your staff should be able to walk over to a colleague and ask it! A collaborative workplace will always be a better, more productive one.

Embrace innovation

The great thing about technology is that it is constantly evolving and it’s important not to brush aside anything new because it is different or seems like it is too much hard work. The process of learning a new technology can seem daunting, but in order to remain competitive and innovative in your industry, you have to stay on trend and adapt. Investing in the right technology is key, especially if it’s going to give you a competitive edge and help you to stand out.

All in all, it’s clear that when it comes to technology in the office, there is a clear line between the ones that are distracting to employees, and ones that can enable them to do their job more efficiently. As a business owner, it’s important that you promote best practice, while also welcoming, and trialling, the use of new tools.

Lee Biggins is CEO of CV-Library. 

Further reading on technology in the office

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