Smartphones, laptops, tablets… have they burdened people with work?

The more technology we use, the more time we spend at the workplace, according to an old-timer.

BC: Hey, what's up? I've been trying to get in touch with you for a while…

AD: Work's pretty hectic… I've been coming home late almost every day.

BC: Despite having a table full of gizmos to help you?

AD: What do you mean?

BC: During my times, we had typewriters on our tables. Everything was manual — accounts had to be written in huge ledgers, there was no CAD software for R&D, no CRM or SCM packages... And yet we stuck to reasonable working hours.

AD: As technology evolves, one needs to ring in the changes…

BC: Forget ringing in changes, you could hardly hear telephones ringing back then. Phones were considered a hindrance and there was a lot of hesitation to have one on every table — there were departments that had just one common phone for everyone.

AD: So what did people do to stay in touch — eavesdrop?

BC: Perhaps we didn't need technology to stay connected. Today, you probably need social networking sites.

AD: Research has revealed that social networking sites pose a threat bigger to productivity than porn. Apparently, for every company that bans porn in the U.S., there are 12 that restrict access to social networking sites.

BC: Banning porn sites is futile because you can still bring a Playboy magazine to work. But try bringing along 450 friends to chat with...

AD: It's not just about chatting; the younger lot is also into serious gaming…

BC: So employees are fighting Mafia Wars instead of fighting competition and are growing crops instead of growing the market.

AD: So why blame technology for it? Employees should be more responsible. Just because the PC stands for ‘Personal Computer,' it doesn't mean it can be put to personal use at work.

BC: Perhaps companies should lay down rules about…

AD: Most organisations impose firewalls or offer restricted access to mail and internet.

BC: Just blocking access to the internet or to social media won't help because employees can message, tweet and create posts using their smartphones…

AD: With smartphones, we can now work from anywhere. Could you even imagine working from home during your days?

BC: I can't, simply because it's such a horrifying thought! Smartphones, laptops, tablets… Who on earth would want to bring their office home?

AD: But these gadgets help in multi-tasking …

BC: Apparently, Bill Gates had three screens in front of him — one to check mail, another to browse the net and the third for his correspondence…

AD: I can't imagine asking my boss for three monitors…

BC: He'll probably tell you that if you wanted to stare at multiple screens all day, you could find a job as a salesman in a TV showroom.

AD: But technology does help employees save so much time at work…

BC: Is that why you are working late every day?

AD: Do you mean to say that before computers and the internet, productivity was 100 per cent?

BC: No, but at least we used to get back home early to crib about work and the boss to our family and friends. Today, even that's done from the workplace, possibly on Facebook or Twitter.

AD: However, I don't think that limiting access to social networks is an answer.

BC: The problem is not about organisations offering employees unlimited access to technology — it's about technology offering organisations unlimited access to employees…

AD: Why do you say that?

BC: Because you spend more time with wi-fi than you do with your wife.

sureshl.india@gmail.com

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