There Is A Tech Generation Gap In The Workplace

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Before you start giving me that Captain Obvious look, head over to the LexisNexis April-June press Releases for this interesting article here about just how wide the tech gap is and what that might mean for businesses.

LN commissioned the national survey, targeting generational differences in the impact of tech on workplace etiquette, the blurring of the boundary between professional and personal tasks, and the impact of too much tech in the workplace.

The gap in etiquette perceptions is sufficiently wide that tensions among co-workers may ensue. The identified issues include use of laptops and PDAs during in-person meetings and blogging about workplace issues. You can probably guess which age group is more comfortable with ever-present tech and on-line sharing. There are also significant differences in attitudes about social media and entertainment access during work hours.

I was most struck by the numbers measuring the degree of tech multi-tasking across the generations. The younger groups reported more than twice the reported time spent with various applications opened, to a degree that respondents must have had open three or four apps at the same time. The younger group reported total app time far exceeding in serial hours the standard eight-hour workday and approaching a full 24-hour period.

LN brass call the results a “wake up call” to managers to address the gap and improve efficiencies. It is suggested that businesses should deploy tech that increases productivity and decreases multi-tasking. Reading a bit between the lines of jargon, the authors are suggesting that management rein in unacceptable use of tech (undefined in the release) and supplant traditional social networks with professional networking solutions.

To which I say “best of luck to you in those efforts.”

Edited to fix the veritable plethora of typos generated by my damnable iPhone keyboard.

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2 comments on “There Is A Tech Generation Gap In The Workplace

  1. Interesting. While I fully embrace the presence of tech (duh!), I am of a generation that grew up with computers, yet remembers when the Mac and a mouse were a new and innovative technology and e-mail was only for Unix and tech heads. Of course now a world without e-mail is unfathomable.

    I do however find it off putting when I see someone checking a blackberry or “facebook” on a laptop during an in person meeting and would never blog about workplace issues. I understand the need and convenience, just not the lack of personal contact that this can engender.

    Thanks for the link,

  2. You can always tell one of my iPhone entries from the typos!

    Seriously, though, Chris, I have to agree with the tensions that you feel about tech – I am all about it and love what it can do to improve and streamline your work product, enhance your personal connections and dazzle and entertain.

    But it is important to remember the lines and strive not to cross them. The same lines that exist whether you are talking about a personal phone call, an issue of Vogue Magazine or your PDA. Whether it is tech or the latest issue of Detective Comics or an emory board and nail polish, certain media and behaviors have no place in certain situations. Like in-person meetings, for example.

    I cannot even comprehend blogging about workplace matters. That just makes no common sense whatsoever.

    And I was gifted with a perfect example today, immediately after I posted this entry. Surprisingly, however, the results of the survey didn’t hold true: the offender was probably 15 years my senior and well up in the boomers. There were four of us in a meeting being telecast across different locations and this person spent a sizable amount of time on the blackberry. Perhaps it was work-related. I am certain it wasn’t urgent. The behavior gave the distinct impression that this person was no longer listening to the conversation.

    There is a time and place for everything. Even tech.

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