Communication And Technology In The Workplace
Posted on 01 Sep 2004
by Salvatore (salvatore)
Rated 3.74 (Ratings: 1)
- More articles in Commentary & Society
Access not only to information, but to people as well. The file does you no good without context. The person does you no good without the detail contained in the file. Miss one, and you miss meeting the deadline, signing the contract, closing the deal. There was a meeting scheduled for this afternoon... your managers didn't know to attend because they were attending other meetings and weren't next to the laptop. The client calls and says everything is perfect except for that one file they've misplaced. "Can you resend it please?" "Sure, as soon as I get back to the office." Too late, another vendor stepped in. It's just that fast.
Communication is quite distinct from accessibility. Being able to touch someone electronically does no good without the context need to interpret those touches. Once a fire starts to burn, it's the manager's responsibility to wield the extinguisher. If you get a page or email of simply "help, the client is unhappy," you're powerless to do anything without situational context. Talking someone through an issue cannot be replaced by a volley of emails or text messages, no matter how neat the device is you're sending them with.
Access and communication are useless if the technology deployed is counterintuitive or counterproductive. Having managers carry twelve-pound-anythings means they won't use them. Issuing devices with less than the necessary functionality are as useless as those left in their cases. A small, functional, clear and always-on device will be able to meet the accessible and communicative needs of today's fast-paced businesses.
Return On Investment
Yes, I asked you to disregard money for a moment, but that's over. Welcome back. The cost of implementing the technology necessary to fully equip your workforce, even if only at the management level, must be recouped in a very real fashion. There is no getting around the initial, and often very large, cost of this kind of implementation. What a business is able to show as a result of the investment is where the real value will be apparent. These results are often indirectly proven: increased customer satisfaction, improved employee efficiency, faster reaction times to issues, and a more efficient, more informed workforce. These so-called 'soft dollars' may sound trivial, but you'll be hard-pressed to argue against increasing customer satisfaction, employee efficiency, reaction times, et cetera. Not every employee needs a $600 neat-o device in addition to their laptop/desktop or whatever other technology issued to them. Those employees charged with managing other employees, managing clients, or otherwise responsible for ensuring the business runs as efficiently as possible should have all of the tools necessary to make these goals a reality. Budget is also a clear factor, as not every business will be able to equip their force with the latest and greatest. In both cases, the onus falls on the business to research the available technology and determine which implementation best suits their needs and the needs of their clients, employees, and stakeholders. Even though the initial outlay for such a rollout usually requires a significant amount of capital, remember the return on investment is measured in long term productivity and efficiency. Businesses better able and more equipped to respond to their customer's needs are going to beat their competitors to the punch every single time. By taking advantage of the fusing of communication with available technology, and properly leveraging that fusion, you'll stay right where you want to be: at your customer's fingertips and first on their minds.