By the Thumbs

October 6th, 2006

We connect and are connected constantly. But now there are increasingly serious consequences. Emails written in haste, while at meetings, on the fly, with half-attention, or in anger are epidemic. Workers and executives are finding themselves having to double back, explain, un-do or make up for mis-understandings, inadvertently “reply all or forwarded missives, blind copied messages that break trust, and blown out of proportion emotional reactions. Much time and emotional energy is being spent on what should be a time saver.

The convenience of mobile devises has shifted into a conundrum. Being constantly on hand and accessible sets expectations of immediate response and instant action. And it builds on itself. Work stress increases, productivity and effectiveness decrease when people never let up, never let down, never let go.
Now, according to The Independent, there is an unintended–but perhaps not unexpected–consequence of our “Crackberry” addiction: legal exposure for organizations. It seems that mobile email devises which place pressures on employees beyond regular working hours can interfere with fair labor practices….or even could be considered grounds for divorce!

No one wants to be disconnected. Perhaps, though, we have let this get out of hand.

Test yourself:

When are you not checking emails?

What happens if you don’t?

How much time during the day do you spend just thinking….daydreaming?

When you read an email, how much time goes by before you respond? Do you re-read and consider the recipient’s reaction before hitting send?
How are your relationships? When was the last time you got out of your chair to personally speak with a colleague…or even picked up the phone?

Do you suffer from split attention because your mobile devise is beeping or vibrating while you are at meetings? Or at home?

How early in the morning and late at night do you check your devise?

If you think you are not addicted, put the thing away for an hour and monitor your reactions. Do you worry that you will miss something? Do you think…”oh, I’ll just check this once?”

What would happen if you disconnected?

Like many addictions, remote emailing starts off feeling good; it is a convenience, gives you a sense of power and accomplishment. Then, it starts to have power over you. At some point we all must make our own decisions about being connected. If you are checking constantly, you may be losing the very connections you are trying to preserve.

Let me hear from you.

2 comments on “By the Thumbs

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