Is Technology Ruining Professional Relationships?

Is Technology Ruining Professional Relationships?

Eric Chen
Aug 10, 2011

Gizmodo has an interesting piece based on a report from USA Today that declared "incivility" as a growing problem in the workplace. As instant messages and Twitter allow us to broadcast information to a wider audience, are we losing the small talks and the water cooler gossips that create the social interactions between coworkers? Here are some ways you can avoid becoming an IRL social pariah.

Incorporate small talks into your emails or instant messages. As short one-line emails and instant messages become the norm in workplace efficiency, it is easy to forget to include small talks with your messages, especially if they are sent to a regular contact. For people that you can't meet face to face, don't forget to catch up and about recent events such as weekends and holidays. Feel free to bring in more personal topics if you have a close relationship with the contact.

Make an exception from using email to communicate. The whole point of emails and instant messages is to speed up communication and increase efficiency in the work place. But from time to time, try getting some face time (even the Apple kind) with the person you're communicating with, just to see each other's face. This may not work all the time, but try to incorporate a few face to face meetings throughout the day, just to remind yourself that a real person is on the other end reading your message! Which leads to our next point...

Don't forget the people you're communicating with are real! Fact: it is easier to be type mean things than it is to say them. And emails may often come across as cold and impersonal without you realizing it. Just keep snail mail ettiquettes in mind, don't forget your "please" and "thank you". It always helps to use words expressing emotions such as "happy/sorry to hear". And just always keep in mind that the voice on the other end is a real person!

As technology becomes more and more convenient, don't forget to keep things personal (in a good way). And if you have any tips on how to avoid technology "incivility" go ahead and leave it in the comments!

[USA Today via Gizmodo]

Check out some of our other articles on technology and relationships:

(Image: Flickr Member: wovox licensed for use under Creative Commons; Flickr Member: Jason Pratt licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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