We’re moving into the next decade of micro-computers, smartphones, PDAs and other tech gear intended to boost productivity. However, the deeper we get into business tech, the more we discover that technology can be a double-edged sword. There’s an upside and a downside to tech in the workplace.

Here are some everyday examples, showing how you can focus on the positives and mitigate the negatives.

The Internet
In business, we use it, we love it, we connect with it, we lower postage costs, we target market segments with greater specificity, delivering the right message to the right prospect at just the right time.

The Internet has cut research time down to nothing. If you want the population of Ulan Bator, just Google it. You have your answer in seconds, not hours or days looking in books from library shelves. Answers are delivered to you.

The Internet puts more control in the hands of small business by providing the same sales platform large businesses use. Search engines are rigorously revised to eliminate search bias, so your website may show up above a national company that spends millions on advertising. Small business has a level playing field.

The Internet has changed the way we do just about everything, from push advertising to smartphone users to cloud storage for easy online collaboration. However, it is also a distraction. How many times do employees log on to their Facebook pages during the workday when they should be working? How many of your team are playing computer games on the office computer right now?

Dangers of Tech in the Workplace
Money Talks News* recently reported on the downside of workplace tech – and there are some “falling-off-the-cliff” downsides.

When technology becomes a distraction:
• Quality of work is compromised.
• Morale suffers because other employees have to cover for co-workers trying to reach the next level of their favorite computer-based games.
• Intra-office communication suffers because instead of talking to each other, we send texts or email.

• Work assignments are delivered late and deadlines are missed.
• Personal and workplace activity are co-mingled, with employees using their own smartphones to conduct company business. This practice is actually promoted and referred to as BYOD – bring your own device – because employees are most familiar with their own smartphones – and they’re always within arm’s reach.
• Security of company data is lessened as more access points are added. Opening a single infected email can spread a virus across the office network. Files may be corrupted and critical data stolen.

How Can You Reduce the Negatives?

First, clearly state company policy about personal use of tech equipment. If you have a company employees’ manual, put your tech policies in writing.

Schedule regular breaks for employees. Give them time to check personal emails and glance at the nanny cam at home. Your employees want to use their technology, so let them. Just schedule times throughout the day when personal tech can be used.

Train employees on basic routine security. If you don’t know who sent an email, don’t open it.

Install key logger software across your office network and inform employees. Your objective isn’t to “catch” an employee goofing off, it’s to protect the integrity of your business systems and maintain the highest levels of productivity.

Block distraction sites on the office network. If you don’t know how to prevent employee access to Facebook, hire an IT expert to lock out employees from any site that distracts them from work.

Limit business smartphone use to business calls. Limit use of company tablets to company business. Encourage employees to keep personal and workplace communications separate.

Upgrade office security regularly. Also, have an IT professional upgrade both hardware and software to get more from company equipment.

Good employees employ good business practices. It’s up to the business owner to make sure the team knows the rules of the tech game at work. Teach them. Be open and honest. Be respectful of employee integrity. You may see fewer distractions and increased productivity.




The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.