This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Technology - the curse?

In a previous post I wrote about the importance of communicating in the workplace. From some of the comments on that, I started to think about how technology gets in the way of communication.

Brunswick is a small office - less than 25 people. Yet despite this, we use e-mail for just about everything. Often, we don't get up to talk to someone sitting two desks behind us. As a result, I can spend the whole day without ever really connecting with others in the office - especially those who sit at the other end. We mail each other a lot rather than walking over. Laziness? I think so. But it's very convenient to send a mail - but not always effective. Often, e mail helps because we need to transfer things from one computer to another. But at other times, it gets in the way of communicating a clear brief.

Some time ago, my Dad mentioned that he disliked that someone in his office always sent e mails rather than making the effort to talk to him in person. He saw this as a sure sign that the man did not have the potential to reach a higher position in his company - its essential for a leader to have people skills and the 'likeability' factor that Maxwell wrote about on his blog.

The solution? I think it's much more personal to actually talk to someone. Will I do it? I'll try to make a conscious effort to. The other option is also to use the telephone.

During one of our weekly meetings, someone requested that we please refrain from fiddling with blackberries or cell phones during meetings with clients. A while ago I went out to lunch with Rachel, my mentor, for a catch up. She brought her blackberry with her - to be available in case anything important required her attention. Often, my Dad takes his 'devices' on holiday with him - robbing him of the ability to ever fully relax. One of the FISH philosophy principles was to BE PRESENT - and I think technology is robbing us of the ability to focus completely on the person we are talking to. Devices are always a distraction.

Suggestions - turn off devices when they aren't really needed, focus on what's happening in the present moment, and don't take your work on holiday with you! (I better convince my Dad to do that too).

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