Smartphone Sanity in the Office

It seems like the current trend in research is how our beloved technologies, like smartphones, email, and Twitter, make us dumber, slower, or less productive. See this piece in the New York Times for one example of this trendy topic: How Email Makes Us Less Productive. This trend is almost as popular as the “next big thing” culture that glorifies the simplification of our lives that comes with smartphones, like synchronized online calendars, Evernote, and Uber. No matter where you stand on the issue, here are some tips for keeping technology usage sane in the workplace.

1. Respect after-business hours.

You can improve your workplace habits simply by keeping work there. Although there may be some emergencies that will require getting in contact with an employee later in the day or earlier in the morning, I cannot think of many circumstances where this would be true. Don’t expect that 11pm email to be read and responded to the same night.

2. Be aware of data security.

With the plethora of apps available, it can be difficult to manage which ones can access which information. In addition, the issue is compounded because most people (myself included) don’t have a grasp on how, exactly, third parties access information from mobile devices.

3. Control access to employer wifi or devices.

Don’t compromise your network security so an employee can send email from his or her phone in addition to the desktop.

4. Communicate clear policies on Internet activity at work.

The best way to avoid a problem is to address the situation before it happens.

5. Encourage productivity.

Be aware that smartphones can become a huge timesuck. Many employees have no problems resisting the call of the Angry Birds. However, if productivity becomes a problem, it may be wise to consider banning the Birds.Whether you find smartphones to be a useful part of the workday or a roadblock to productivity, you’ll need to express your official policy clearly and concisely. Smartphone sanity is necessary for a peaceful and productive workplace. You can’t ignore the issue in your office; begin communicating now, to avoid a problem later.

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