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Technology Overload?

07 Jan 2015
This recent article on BBC News has left me thinking about the impact technology has had on modern society, and in particular, its role in the workplace.

Digital culture is so deeply entrenched in how we live our lives in this modern age that it is difficult to imagine a single day without technology: from the social media accounts we hold, the computers we work on at the office, to the apps which track everything from our fitness to our finances, technology is everywhere.

The average smartphone user checks their mobile device every six minutes - that's 150 times each day. Technology has brought about a cultural transformation which impacts everything from social etiquette (how long is too long to wait before replying to a text? When out for dinner, is your phone allowed to be on the table?), to the language we use ('selfie' recently made it into the dictionary, after all) - but the question is, is all this technology a good thing?

Regardless of how it can benefit (or aggravate) our personal lives, technology certainly has a positive function in the workplace. Social media outlets such as company blogs, Linkedin and Facebook profiles, even Twitter and Instagram, allow businesses to forge real-time, genuine connections with their customers and clients.

Indeed, the benefits of being digitally up-to-date are remarkably visible in terms of sales and profit for many industries: global jeweller's Tiffany's was relatively slow compared to its competitors in optimizing its website for mobile viewing, but with the arrival of its app, sales from the company website grew by almost 125%.This is not to say that there aren't disadvantages to living such digital lives as we do.

The omnipresence of the internet is both a blessing and a curse for those who wish to switch off when the 9-5 is over, but still feel the compulsion (and have the ability) to check their work emails.

More than this though, as the BBC article linked on this blog highlights, is our reliance on technology hindering our own personal development? Are we becoming more dependent and lazy than our predecessors, who didn't have the privileges the digital age affords us - or is rejecting technology in favour of 'the old fashioned way of doing things' simply foolish?

I myself can't decide if I agree with the mother in the article, for making her daughter suffer the consequences of forgetting her work, when I know that I'm guilty myself of relying on technology to help me stay on track. True, her daughter shouldn't have forgotten, but is using technology to resolve the issue lazy, or proactive? Is the 21st century need to have everything instantly at our fingertips something we should be celebrating or criticising?

One thing is for sure - every day we run the very real risk of experiencing digital fatigue, both within our personal and business lives. Despite the value of technology, it is most important to maintain face-to-face human interaction - the internet allows us to connect with people all over the world, but these relationships become far more meaningful after just one conversation in person. It is not only impossible, but undesirable to disengage with technology, but it's important to be able to cope effectively when it (inevitably) lets us down.

In spite of the prevalence of technology in our lives, it's important to recognise that businesses like those in the recruitment sector are intrinsically personal; despite the ever-growing need to stay digitally savvy, Sellick Partnership keeps people at the forefront of everything we do.

What's your experience of working with technology? Do you feel like we depend too much (or too little) on it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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