Melvin Feller Looks at Ways to Eliminate Rudeness with Technology
Melvin Feller Business Ministries Group in Burkburnett and Dallas Texas and Lawton Oklahoma. Our mission is to call and equip a generation of Christian entrepreneurs to do business as ministry. We provide workshops and resources that help companies discover how to do business God’s way. When the heart of a business is service rather than self it can be transformed into a fruitful business ministry earning a profit and being of service to the community and their customers. Melvin Feller is currently pursuing another graduate degree in business organizations.
In the good old days, you put in your time at work then went home. The boss did not bug you after hours unless it was an emergency, and co-workers did not bother you at home, because they did not want to think about work, either.
However, these days, it is not unusual to have an e-mail arrive from the boss at 2 a.m., or have co-workers call you at night, on weekends and even on vacation. You no longer sit and simply enjoy time off you are tethered to your job through all sorts of electronic gadgets. In addition, even if the boss or your colleagues are not trying to contact you, in all honesty, you are probably trying to contact them.
Is it that our work has become so critical that we cannot take even one night off? That our vacations are nothing but telecommuting in disguise? That we are so critical to the success of our employer that we must stay connected 24/7.
For as long as there has been work, there have been workaholics. Therefore, working a lot is nothing new. What has changed is that just as technology has helped us do our jobs better; it has also helped us do our jobs worse. Therefore, if we are awake at 3 a.m. and cannot sleep, instead of getting a glass of warm milk and watching the clouds drift over the moon from our kitchen window we will get on the computer and work.
Instead of giving ourselves down time, we work. While studies have shown multitasking to not only affect our creativity and make us less productive now, we are determined to make others just as miserable. Therefore, we bombard others with e-mails and texts that demand a reaction.
Maybe it is time to take a deep breath and think before reaching for that computer key or text button.
Be stingy with the attachments. Is firing off a quick e-mail with an attachment that will take three hours for the other person to read fair? What does that say about how you respect the other person’s time if you inundate them with material just to avoid a face-to-face interaction that might solve the problem more quickly and efficiently?
Set guidelines. Get together with colleagues and agree that you are going to be more cognizant of when to use technology — and when not to. Get colleagues and bosses to decide no more Blackberries, pagers or cell phones will be allowed in meetings. Mass e-mails will only be sent in dire circumstances. Anyone who violates the policy more than once has to buy everyone coffee the next morning.
Be sender sensitive. Before sending an electronic or voice message, consider where, when and how the person will be receiving it. Do you really need to send a message on the weekend? Is it fair to send urgent work to someone coming off a weeklong business trip? Can your message wait until the person finishes a big project? Be aware of the stresses everyone faces on the job and how your actions contribute to that.
You are on 24/7. With the advent of Ipads and cell phones, people began to discover that their bosses or colleagues or clients think of them as available anytime, day or night, weekday or weekend. Phone calls were bad enough, but now the ability to text a person simply compounds the problem of “being available 24/7.”
You are doing more with less. Computers have made workers more productive in countless ways. I can remember my first experiences with desktop publishing software at my advertising agency. Suddenly, we were building brochures, advertisements, and magazines in a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) environment without laboriously using the light table to manually construct page layouts. Even so, technology can trip us up. “Spell Check,” is a wonderful tool, but you cannot assume that the technology always gets it right. We had to reprint a client brochure when Spell Check and even our proofreader failed to identify the mistake of referring to a Certified Public Accounting firm as a Certified Pubic Accounting firm. Now factor in “Autocorrect,” and doing more with less because of computers can become a recipe for apology, if not downright disaster.
Technology steals focus. Since I was a little boy, I have been instructed to answer a phone when it rings. Unfortunately, the smartphones we carry with us at all times can ring right in the middle of a conversation. The polite, appropriate action is to send the call to voicemail. However, that does not always happen, leading the other person to think the one answering the phone is rude. Smartphones are not the only devices that steal attention inappropriately. You could be visiting with a colleague when the colleague’s computer signals the arrival of an e-mail. Instead of staying focused on you, the colleague turns his attention to the e-mail. Result: rudeness.
Life creep into work time. Not only can work creep into your personal life, now it is much easier to have your personal life creep into your work time. You can receive personal calls and texts on your smartphone, when in the past, only a real emergency call could interrupt you while at work. The Internet also lets your personal life interfere with work, as in surfing the Web for a gift for a spouse or a child on company time.
Like any advances in technology over the years, today’s computers, tablets, and smartphones all have the ability to help us be more productive, but we have to be aware of the ways in which they can cause us to be rude and guard against letting their use distract us from the work we are there to do.
Melvin Feller Business Consultants Ministries Group in Texas and Oklahoma. Melvin Feller founded Melvin Feller Business Consultants Group Ministries in the 1970s to help individuals and organizations achieve their specific Victory. Victory as defined by the individual or organization are achieving strategic objectives, exceeding goals, getting results or desired outcomes. He has extensive experience assisting businesses achieve top and bottom line results. He has broad practical experience creating WINNERS in many organizations and industries. He has hands-on experience in executive leadership, operations, logistics, sales, program management, organizational development, training, and customer service. He has coached teams to achieve results in strategic planning, business development, organizational design, sales, and customer response and business process improvement. He has prepared and presented many workshops nationally and internationally.