Technology has forever changed the culture of some office environments, for better or worse. While we tend to err on the side of implementing IT as being worth the risk, it’s always best to go into implementing a new technology solution with the thought of not just how it will affect operations, but how it might influence your organization’s company culture. We’ll go into detail about ways that implementing a new IT solution might affect the way your staff interact with each other, as well as what you should look out for when implementing such solutions.
Technology can help improve interoffice communication with the right tools. For example, you might have interoffice email, but what about instant messaging? For quick questions or something that needs a quick response in general, it’s the right tool, but it can create problems with the way that your team communicates with each other, as well.
For one, it can become a time waster. You might encounter your employees chatting back and forth without really having a conversation of substance. On the surface it might seem like a time waster that gets in the way of productivity, but remember that it’s also critical to preserve a sense of camaraderie. After all, nobody wants to work with people they don’t like, right? Basically, as long as you teach your employees the values of moderation, you shouldn’t have issues like this.
It also becomes an issue when your employees become more comfortable communicating with each other behind the veil of their computer screen. Interpersonal skills are important too, especially when working with clients or contemporaries. Remember, technology should never be used as a replacement for face-to-face interaction, only to supplement it in the event that it’s simply impossible to achieve, like with remote workers or international communications.
Whenever you implement a new solution that threatens to upset the balance of your workforce in terms of communication, be sure to train your employees on how to use it effectively. During this time, it’s important that you don’t place too harsh restrictions on what they can and can’t do, as they will only come to resent you for doing so. Be sure to do your best to encourage proper use of solutions without being overly controlling.
You should give employees the freedom to pursue the development of such skills through face-to-face interaction. Schedule employee lunches out to restaurants where they are encouraged to have conversations with each other, as well as employee gatherings that develop camaraderie and help your employees feel more comfortable around each other. Furthermore, hold regular meetings so that people can assign names to faces, as well as see that their boss is a human just like they are, not a blinking picture in their instant messaging software.
MERIT Solutions can help your business overcome any obstacles related to technology in the workplace. Whether you’re not sure how to implement a specific solution or you want to integrate certain services with your current infrastructure, we can walk you through the options and lay out in clear terms what your next steps should be. To learn more about how we can connect your employees with technology, reach out to us at (757) 420-5150.