Don’t Let Technology Turn Your Employees Into Robots

Over the last decade, the advance of marketing technology in the workplace has been astounding. Powerful, easily accessible and relatively inexpensive platforms allow global engagement with many in seconds. These platforms increase productivity -- perhaps immeasurably -- save time and money, and offer immense creative potential in every segment of the corporate environment. Yet, we must always be cognizant of the potentially negative ramifications.

Over the last decade, the advance of marketing technology in the workplace has been astounding. Powerful, easily accessible and relatively inexpensive platforms allow global engagement with many in seconds. These platforms increase productivity — perhaps immeasurably — save time and money, and offer immense creative potential in every segment of the corporate environment. Yet, we must always be cognizant of the potentially negative ramifications.

I once noticed my team members at a previous company working in an open workspace and texting other team members three workstations away. What a ridiculous situation. The organization had invested thousands to create a work area that was conducive to free-flowing conversation, idea exchange and lively face-to-face engagement. Yet, people were tapping away on their phones or via the company’s instant messaging platform to the people sitting next to them.

Obviously, I couldn’t take away their phones or shut down the company’s instant messaging platform. So, I tried something else. At the next staff meeting, I used a group list with everyone’s cell phone numbers to start the meeting by text.

“Good morning,” I texted, saying nothing. I looked at my phone’s screen as text message alerts came up on the cell phones around the table.

Strange looks all around.

“Today, I’d like to start with a progress report on the results of the latest focus group,” I continued texting, still staring at my phone.

“I’d like the project manager to bring us all up to date. Please start texting your report,” I typed, never looking up.

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