When it comes to business practices, I find myself in a awkward position. On one hand, I am a supporter of a few old-school business practices from the time before technology had the pervasive impact it has on business communications today. On the other hand, I am proud to be a part of Fonality and enable small, medium and enterprise businesses to grow with powerful technological solutions that enable efficient collaboration. My experience has led me to develop the viewpoint that it is often the best approach to blend the old with the new, both retaining some of those old-school business practices and adopting new ones as you implement new communications solutions.
For example, it has always been important to me to provide my full attention to people I am participating in a meeting with. However, today that is easier said than done. The digital age has produced the modern wired workplace and many corporate environments have been infiltrated with distractions. While it is essential to maintain consistent communications, the fact is that many people and much of the younger generation rely more heavily on their smartphones and other mobile devices. With these younger employees making up growing portions of the workforce, the office environment has undergone a shift as far as how employees behave and interact with their technology.
I came across a recent article in the Harvard Business Review from book author John Coleman, who shared a few thoughts on old-school business practices that are worth bringing back into focus. Coleman cited a Telstra study, which found that more than half of respondents admitted to checking their phones while in meetings.
"But meetings work better when everyone isn't dumbed down by distraction," Coleman wrote. "Smart, modern workplaces … have had to ban technology in meetings so that everyone acts as a full participant. Doing so can make meetings more focused and productive, and make presenters feel more respected. It can also shorten meeting length, as participants push for conclusion when they get bored rather than passing the time playing Angry Birds."
Implementing technology in the right places
When debating technology's value in enabling meetings, collaboration and innovation versus technology's potential to disrupt or distract, it essentially comes down to employing intelligent communications solutions in the right places. While banning the use of technology in meetings is an extreme approach in my opinion, businesses can instead make sure that the technology used is leveraged to provide optimal results. For instance, a business can adopt VoIP phone solutions with video conferencing capabilities so that employees can use their devices to better collaborate and participate in meetings. In this way, a business can reinforce the value of old-school practices like providing your full attention during a meeting while also receiving the most benefit from advanced technological services such as collaboration solutions.
Simply focusing on enhancing communication in general is not enough. There has to be a focus on enhancing the right kind of communication. The good news is that Fonality's solutions are aimed at helping businesses make the smartest possible communications decisions.