If you are a business owner then quite simply you have to use the technological tools at your disposal. However, even though you want to use them every hour of the working day in ways that will benefit your business, it doesn’t mean that your employees will, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the technology you use will be always willing co-operate either. In order to achieve the same goal every day — the goal of making money for your business — your employees must be willing to use the technology handed to them in ways that work towards the goal, and the technology they use must be working that way too. Below are a few hints and tips on how you, the business owner, can make sure that your workforce’s productivity is not disrupted by IT and that the technology itself is not doing all that it can to disrupt them.
An obvious point to cover and start with in relation to employees and technology is the fact that it can cause a massive distraction for them and kill their productivity. Although technology is needed and is pivotal in regards to a lot of business work, in this day and age, being completed — it can be a double-edge sword in regards to the fact that, because it is so accessible throughout the whole day, it has broken down the wall between employees’ work lives and their personal lives as employees could, for instance, contact their friends or family in just a few touches of their smartphone. The worst aspect of this problem is the fact that it can all be done unbeknownst to you, i.e. an employee could use their under their desk, in the toilet, during elongated smoking breaks etc, which could result in your being fed an unrealistic expectation about a piece of work that is due both in regards to the quality of it and the time in which it will be completed. Now, although this is a big problem, it is an extremely hard one to vet and eradicate (unless you have the finances to upgrade your camera systems two-fold and the patience and time to watch them meticulously throughout the day), so you have to be clever in your attempts to manage it. First, of all, although you are the boss, you should try to channel, or even retain from times gone by, feelings of what it is like to work under somebody or work for a business that isn’t yours. Some employees may actively seek to use their phones under your nose as a way to prove to themselves that they are still retaining their personal identity even when they are being told to do something by somebody else; some may do it as they thrive off of the thrill of doing something they shouldn’t be doing; some may do it because they value their personal life over their work life; and some may do it because they do not understand or realize how much of a role they play in the continued success of the business. It is because of these aspects that you, even though you are the boss, should seek to understand what it is like to be an employee and use that as your basis for the eradication of the problem that is technological distractions. You could then build on that by implementing tips that were offered by Ricoh Americas Corp. in a statement, which included: acknowledging the issue of the existence of the problems with your employees; setting expectations and how they can still be achieved even with the managed use of technology for personal or pleasure reasons; and changing the workplace environment so that it is as appealing as the technological distractions.
And these technological distractions aren’t just detrimental to your business in regards to the productivity of your employees either. As documented previously: the enemies could lie within when it comes to your business and its online security — and no, this doesn’t mean that you (necessarily) have an employee that is working undercover in a bid to bring your business crashing down to the ground. An employee could be guilty of, unknowingly, granting unwanted and dangerous third parties access to the networks used by your business through the apps that they use or the sites that they visit. For instance, throughout the summer period of last year, when Pokémon Go was all the fashion, those employees that were using it in their office hours and were connected to your business’s Gmail account at the time were unknowingly granting Niantic, the app’s creators, access to your business data. Now, this isn’t to say that this company posed any danger to your business — but if they were hacked, what was stopping their hackers from hacking you? This is why it is important that you seek to vet or even eradicate the use of platforms that pose a danger to your business as much as you can. Ways to do so include: remaining in touch yourself with the latest technological crazes and doing as much research that you can into them make sure that they are safe to access in the business environment; taking safety procedures such as, in regards to the situation stated above, asking for employees to access the app when they aren’t connected to the business in any way; or, more severely, distributing punishments for anybody caught using their phone inappropriately. The latter will go a long way in eradicating the previously mentioned problem that is technology causing a distraction to employees, but is also likely to affect their morale. And technology can play huge role in your bid to improve and maintain employee morale as they are, in the digital age of business, closely linked in many ways. If yours is a business that needs the latest technologies, especially, you should be doing everything in your power (and budget) to make sure that you are optimizing them to not only make sure that the work your produce is up the standards expected of it, but because of what it symbolizes to your employees. If they see that you are investing in the latest technologies it will, one, prove to them that the business is heading in the right direction and that they can make an active contribution to it, two, that you a business owner that has their finger on the pulse, and three, that you are showing faith in them to use the highly expensive technology.
But it’s not just the employee that is to blame when it comes to technology causing disruption or downtime, it’s the technology itself. For instance, even the systems that are used by business around the world every minute of every day can possess some sort of danger, like email systems. To combat this, email security technology, specifically anti-spam software such as that provided by ALB-Tech, which can be found here: http://atb-tech.com/it-security/anti-spam-software/, should be sought. This kind of software can prevent viruses and Trojans from entering your business via the emails that are sent to it and taking a hold of its data in a highly sophisticated manner. And this kind of anti-spam software doesn’t just protect your business from the threat of Trojans or viruses: it can also be used to block all those pesky unwanted and irrelevant emails that you and your workforce receive every day. These emails, although not necessarily posing a danger to your business, can hamper productivity by way of the fact that they can: one, mean you and your workforce are wasting time reading emails that have no relevance to the work at hand in the first place under the impression that you are reading something of interest, only to find at the end that it isn’t of any importance, and two, that you are all wasting time deleting the hoards of emails you receive every morning. And further problems when it comes to having to deal with unwanted emails include: reading through emails and deleting them mentally constituting, to some employees at least, as being part of the work load which again leads to a lessening in terms of productivity as it can mean that efforts are lessened in the other more meaningful tasks; and that workplace frustration can be induced by having to deal with something that isn’t supposed to be part of the working day — and it’s amazing how frustration can spread around a workplace. As well as optimizing this kind of software, you should seek to teach your employees about spyware through security awareness training so that they can become educated users of technology and be able to eradicated themselves any distractions or downtime that is thrown their way by it.
So, if you want your business to one day become a market leader then you must be willing to not only acknowledge that there could be technologically based distractions in your workplace, but you must also be open to the idea of actively combating them and not allowing for them to continue or grow.