Technology has such a massive presence in the way we live and do business today that most people work with it in one form or another every day. This constant interaction can make it extremely easy to slip into carelessness and develop bad tech habits. Furthermore, since technology’s full integration into the workplace is still relatively new for many workers and continues to develop at breakneck speeds, tech has become a major scapegoat for mistakes, breakdowns and failures. However, many of these issues actually stem from human error.
The consequences of bad tech habits at work range from just being annoying to devastating. Regardless of the extent of negative outcomes, it’s critical to proactively address bad tech habits before they derail productivity, security and the organization as a whole.
Here are 11 bad tech habits to break before they damage your bottom line.
1. Personal Screen Time on the Company Dime
One of the most prevalent bad tech habits impacting the workplace is personal screen time while employees are on the clock. A growing percentage of employees are consistently distracted by their mobile devices, which can be hugely detrimental to productivity. So, employers need to address this issue directly with standards, policies and trackers to ensure employees only use personal devices during breaks.
2. Remaining “On” When Off on Vacation
On the flip side of bringing personal communication to work is bringing work communication into personal time, which can be just as harmful to company objective, goals and productivity. We are all connected all the time. Consequently, employees are finding it harder and harder to disconnect during vacation. However, time off is critical to preventing job burnout. When employees completely unplug from work to focus on their personal well-being, they are able to come back to work more focused and refreshed, contributing to overall productivity.
3. Personal Device Use During Meetings
We are so tapped in electronically that it’s intuitive to take notes this way during meetings. However, smart devices can prove to be more distracting than useful in this context to the presenter and attendees. Consequently, meetings are longer and less productive. Encourage employees to put pen to paper to take notes or start using a notetaking app that can take notes for employees and disseminate them following the meeting so that workers can be 100 percent present at meetings.
4. Poor Inbox Hygiene
These days, our email inboxes act essentially as to-do lists. Consequently, employees need to take some time to manage them appropriately to stay more productive throughout the day. All email providers have filters and rules that allow your inbox to organize itself. However, few workers are using these. An organized inbox helps workers stay on task and focused on objectives.
5. Bad Browser Hygiene
Along the same vein as email hygiene, workers exceedingly fail to practice good browser hygiene. When employees leave multiple browser tabs open for weeks on end, it hogs essential Internet resources from the company, resulting in higher IT Support costs from computers running slowly, as well as lower productivity when the Internet is lagging.
6. Immediately Answering Emails
It’s important to provide timely responses. But it can extremely disruptive to continually answer emails and texts the moment they arrive. There is a prevalent feeling of immediacy associated with texts and emails that urges us to respond as soon as possible. Instead, try to schedule blocks of time during the day to attend to email, texts and other messages. Resist the urge to respond outside of these time frames unless it is genuinely something urgent.
7. Manipulating Data
Data manipulation can be either intentional or accidental. However, the end result is the same regardless if the mistakes are intentional to reflect more favorable results or not. It’s impossible to see problems and how to fix them if the data is incorrect. Clearly communicate your expectations of data entry and the consequences if it is incorrect or missing entirely.
8. Installing Unauthorized Apps and Devices
There are constantly new apps and devices promising ever better efficiency, productivity and communication. Consequently, there is constant temptation to get a jump on the next big thing. So, it’s critical that employees know that new apps, tools and devices need to go through the company for safety testing before they can add them to the network. It only takes one piece of malicious tech to compromise the entire security of a network and its data.
9. Over-Allocation of Time to Work Social Media
While social media is increasingly important to business, social media activities need to be intentional and mindful. It’s easy to get distracted even when working on work-related social media pages by the sheer volume of distractions that are inherent to these forums. Consequently, like work email, it’s helpful to schedule a block of time each day to attend to these tasks and duties. Also, consider using social media automation tools to help eliminate the need to be habitually attending to social media.
10. Poor Click Control
Workers need to exercise proper judgement and caution when clicking on email links. Antivirus and antimalware help minimize the harm employees are able to inflict on your network. However, cybersecurity starts at the individual level. So, it’s important to educate employees about how they can help keep your network safe in their daily activities.
11. Mass Messaging Overuse
While business messaging apps like Slack provide convenience for essential communications between members of large and sometimes remote teams. However, using this as the default method of communication can be expensive. One company found that mass Slack messages was costing it $3,000 a pop, because each message costs every employee anywhere from $5 to $15 in productivity. Make sure employees understand how these messages affect the bigger picture. This way they can make informed decision regarding communication channels.