In our last article, we offered strategies for managing personal technology use at work. Employee use (or abuse) of technology in the workplace, while detrimental, is not the only concern for business leaders. Firms must also help workers better manage their time using technology for valid business purposes, both inside and outside the office. Here’s a bit more practical advice.
Help Workers Help Themselves: Many office workers report that the volume of business email and other communication has become overwhelming—and deeply distracting. For employees whose jobs are not centered around email, encourage them to establish “quiet” times—periods when they don’t read or respond to email and can get other work done.
Most email programs allow the user to set up rules for message delivery—including desktop alerts that can penetrate the silence if a message is truly urgent. The Society for Human Resource Management recently published an article with more tips for preventing technology-related distractions. You can review it, here.
Address Technology Outside the Workplace: Increasingly, workers find themselves conducting business after hours using their cell phones or personal computers. Many report a preference for this practice. It lets them make productive use of “downtime” (e.g. riding to and from work on the bus or train) and resolve issues when they arise rather than having to deal with them the next day.
Business owners should recognize this extra effort by personnel and reward them with compensation or other perks. As the National Law Review reports, in many cases, companies do not have a choice about how they compensate personnel for these activities. However, even when rewards are not required, providing them shows workers that the company appreciates their extra effort. It also reinforces the concept that personal and business activities are separate and should be managed as such.