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Workplace Communication Paper

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Workplace Communication Paper

  1. 1. Running head: CONFLICT ON USING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE 1 Conflict on Using Technology for Communication in the Workplace Yihao Ou University of Kentucky
  2. 2. CONFLICT ON USING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE 2 Abstract In this paper the conflict on using technology for communication in the workplace will be discussed. Both the benefit and harm that the technology will do to the communication in the workplace will be talk about and each of them will be discussed in three sub-points. For the beneficial side: efficiency, mobility and cost saving these three aspects will be used to analyze and provide evidence for the benefit that the technology has brought to the communication in the workplace. For the harmful side: broken-down communication and health issue that caused by using technology for communication and the troubles that might happened once the technologies broke would be analyzed and used as evidence for the harm that the technology would do to the workplace. Keywords: technology, workplace
  3. 3. CONFLICT ON USING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE 3 Conflict on Using Technology to Communicate in the Workplace Technology like computers, tablets and smart phones are becoming more and more essential to our life in recent years. Because of these technology, the way how people communicate with each other have been changed a lot: instant communication is no longer limited to happen just during face to face but in anywhere, at any time and this, has led to a huge change of communication in the workplace for almost every industries. However, as we all known that everything has two sides. We cannot say that something is always good or is always bad. So what are the benefit and harm that technology has brought to the communication in the workplace? For the beneficial side, there are total three aspects that I would like to talk about: efficiency, mobility and cost saving. First of all, let’s talk about efficiency. Having technology in the workplace allow the information and orders can be sent to the workers instantly through email instead of using phone calls or inter-office mail to interact with one another anymore like the old days. Using email can help avoid misunderstanding or misleading when giving out an order or assignment since everybody receive the email directly from their leader without being transmitted and rephrasing by others. Also, using technology can increase communication between workers and also departments to make work easier and could save a lot of time. For example, if anyone has any question at work, they can just simple message the person that could help them through email or texting, even though this person may not be in the office right on the second; or maybe someone need a file from the other department right away and they can message the people from the other department and have the people there to email the file to them instantly.
  4. 4. CONFLICT ON USING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE 4 Secondly, mobility. With an increasing number of companies investing in deployment and management of enterprise mobility than ever before, remote work is fast becoming mainstream, as flexible hours and work locations allow employees to work more efficiently and accomplish more (Newman, 2015). Indeed, with all the technologies, people are no longer limited to work in the office but in wherever they want. A laptop, the access to the internet and a place to sit and that’s all needed for work! All the files are in electronic version so that workers could have access to all of the files whenever and wherever they are. Also, the communication between customers and the workers would be easier and timely. Situation like an agent is sick at home or for some reason didn’t come to work and a customer which this agent is responsible for needs help, the customer may have to wait until his/her agent comes back to work. However, with the help of technology, the customer can either email the agent or make a phone call or texting to get to the agent and have his/her problem solve in time. The last but not least, cost saving. Although buying technology like laptops and tablets could be a big cost for a company. However, having theses could a big on saving both money and resource in a long run. According to Jason Oh, a reporter form The Washington Post said: Migrate from desktop to laptops. Making this switch provides the flexibility for your employees to work off of battery power for a portion of the time instead of always being plugged into an electrical outlet. Simply by unplugging from the grid, depending on where you’re located, you could save up to $100 in energy costs per computer every year (2012). Take an international company like Philip as an example: it has hundreds of branch companies all over the world, if the controlling company in Dutch want to hold a meeting with the management from different companies and everyone need to fly to Dutch from different countries all over the world every time, this would be a huge cost even to the company as big as Philip. But with the help of
  5. 5. CONFLICT ON USING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE 5 technology, a meeting like this can be held through video chatting on computer without costing any money but just a little fee of electricity. A group video chatting is just like having a really face to face meeting, everybody can be able to talk to each other and see each other. As mentioned above, besides saving money, using technology can also save a lot of resource. Having all the files stored in electronic version is a big saving of space and paper, the computer can help arrange and organize all the documents with just one click. Making tables, graphing, dealing with data become real easy with all those software. As showing in the figure 1, a general research on technology and its impact in the workplace based on 700 workers that is done by TIA Company shows that most of the workers satisfied with having technology in their work place, which can help draw a conclusion that technology is a big help for both work and communication in the workplace. However, as stated above, everything has two sides. Therefore, for the harmful side, I am going to talk about how technology makes the communication breakdown, cause health issue and would make a huge mess once it broke. So how would technology make the communication breakdown? Since the existence of technology makes the email become the most efficiency way to communicate in the workplace, people would become more and more rely on communicating through email and the chance for them to talk face to face would become less and less. It’s hard to build a close relationship with Figure 1. IT support generally doing a good job but room for improvement does exist
  6. 6. CONFLICT ON USING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE 6 others in the workplace without talking with each other in person. Also, a workplace where all the worker are not close and familiar with each other won’t be able to have this sense of group honor and may not have the passion to work hard and fight for the company. What’s more, communicating through email is just simply exchanging message through texts and the information that can only be expressed by body language or facial expression would be left out and the meaning of the message would not be as accurate as communicating face to face, especially for those people who are not so good at writing. Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication. He found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc) (Blake, 2012), as shown in figure 2. In other word, 98% of the meaning of a message is missing when communicating with each other only through texting. Therefore, although email is benefit for giving order or making an announcement but maybe not a good idea for daily communication. Next is health issue. How would technology bring health issue? As technology become essential for communication in the workplace, workers usually spend most of their time on their computers at work. However, according to April Cashin-Garbutt (2012), who is the author of the article Does looking at a computer damage your eyes? which is published on a medical news website that people who look at computers frequently, (in particular those that look at a computer for more than three hours a day), may experience symptoms such as: Eye discomfort, headaches, Figure 2. Verbal and nonverbal information distribution in communication
  7. 7. CONFLICT ON USING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE 7 blurred vision and etc. Having technology indeed can increase the efficiency of work with all those help from email and office software and people are no bother to walking desk to desk, door to door and department to department in order to pass out files or ask questions. But on the other hand, since no need to walk around anymore, people would tend to sitting on their seat for a lot longer. Based on a research conducted by Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, which is stated by Sheryl Ubelacke on CBC news (2015) shows that person sits during the day is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death, regardless of regular exercise. Finally, how would technology make a huge mass once it broke? As technology has taken place of the traditional communicating way in the workplace, the whole system of how everything work for the whole company is built on having technology as support: workers do their work on computer; every file and information are saved as an electronic version in the computer; communication between workers, departments and even companies are rely on technology. Therefore, try imagine a day that all the technologies of a company break down for some reason maybe like a virus that is sent by their competitor maliciously. Then this whole company is basically paralyzed and not functioning until all the technologies back to normal. “I don’t know about you, but I’ve been at jobs where if the Internet isn’t working, then work comes to a standstill. How can you work if you can’t send an email, right? Seriously. I was sent home one day at my last job because the Internet was down.” Said by Chanie Kirschner (2013), who used to work in a company highly depend on internet. Therefore, highly depending of technology may have brought a lot convenience but it also comes with a huge risk. To sum up, having technology has its own good and bad. On one hand, it would definitely bring a lot of convenience and effectiveness: Everything can be easily organized by
  8. 8. CONFLICT ON USING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE 8 just a few clicks; No more running around building to send out message or give out paper works, one email is all we need; In touch with customer and colleagues no matter where you are as long as you have your technology with you; Saving travel fee and make more room in the office by doing everything on the computer. However, on the other hand, relying on technology can also do harm to the workplace: No more face to face communication, the most thing you would say to your colleagues probably just “hi” and “bye”; health just getting worse and worse for working in front of computer every day; Once the technology break down then everything got ruin. Therefore, how the balance the benefit and harm that are brought by the technology is the most important thing. We need the help from technology for sure, but we also don’t want to get too dependent on them either. Use technology in a smart way and make your life and work better.
  9. 9. CONFLICT ON USING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMUNICATION IN THE WORKPLACE 9 References Blake. (2012). How much of communication is really nonverbal?. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.nonverbalgroup.com/2011/08/how-much-of- communication-is-really-nonverbal/ Cashin-Garbutt, A. (2012, January 28th). Does looking at a computer damage your eyes? Medical News. Retrieved from http://www.news-medical.net/health/Does-looking-at-a-computer- damage-your-eyes.aspx Newman, D. (2015, March 23rd). Mobile is a Lifestyle, not a Technology. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://midsizeinsider.com/en-us/article/mobile-lifestyle-not- technology#.VRz2Sc_TDX4 Ubelacker, S. (2015, January 19th). Sitting for too long can kill you, even if you exercise: study. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/sitting-for-too-long-can- kill-you-even-if-you-exercise-study-1.2918678 Oh, J. (2012, February 23rd). How companies can save money if employees work from home. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on- small-business/how-to-be-technologically--and-cost-- efficient/2012/02/07/gIQAZMwERR_story.html Kirschner, C. (2013, September 30th). 7 Signs we are too dependent on technology. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/gadgets-electronics/stories/7- signs-we-are-too-dependent-on-technology

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