In this day and age, avoiding technology in the workplace is like trying to avoid dairy at an ice cream shop. The best we can hope for is to harness technology and control its use. Controlling the use of technology in the conference room is no different.
As technology becomes more pervasive in our personal and work lives, here is a look at some of the biggest reasons why employees my actually hate the conference room technology that was intended to make life easier.
- Constant Dependence on Technology. The number one reason employees might dislike technology is the very fact that we are dependent on it to get the job done. How many times has everybody gone home early because the computers went down? How many meetings have been called off because of technical difficulty?
- Crippling Effects of Technology Malfunctions. Along the lines of point #1, employees hate attending a meeting where the wireless presentation equipment isn’t working, or where a computer has crashed. These meetings become extremely unproductive while all attendees wait for a solution to be reached.
- Work Time Infringing on Personal Time. It used to be that when you were at work, you were at work, and when you were at home, you were at home. This is not always the case now with modern technology. There is often an expectation for employees to “call in” to important meetings, even if you are on vacation. This can start to feel rather restrictive.
- Limited Interpersonal Communication. There are many reports and studies on how rare personal conversations are becoming. Have you ever sat in a conference room waiting for a meeting to start and nobody is talking to each other because they are all staring at their phones? Digital messaging can be harmful to an employees ability to verbally communicate.
- Emails, Texts and Other Interruptions Affect the Productivity of Meetings. It can be very frustrating, as a meeting attendee, to be forced to wait for the presenter to stop and answer a text, or a phone. It is equally as frustrating when a presenter has to deal with attendees who are more interested in their phones than what is being presented.
- Assimilation to New Technology. Employees are often required to upgrade to new devices that are compatible with new technology at work and in the conference room. There is always an assimilation learning curve with any new device. Employees, especially those that are not as technologically savvy, can get very frustrated when learning a new device.
- Cost of Required Technology. Similar to point #6, Employees can get frustrated with the cost of required upgrades. That is, unless the employer is willing to foot the bill.
- Technology Taking Over Jobs. In today’s workplace, many jobs are being automated and employees are being replaced by technology. This can create a general resentment toward technology in the workplace. Current conference room technology also allows for more remote working arrangements and can dramatically widen the talent pool.
- Excessive Monitoring Inhibits Creativity. Many employers are choosing to implement monitoring devices and software to keep closer tabs on employee productivity and other activities. Some of the most creative employees feel that this type of rigid monitoring of activity can stifle the free spirit of creativity and innovation.
- Microphone Feedback and Distortions. Last, but not least, one of the most hated technology problems in the conference room is the microphone. From ear-splitting feedback, to conference phones that can’t quite pick up every voice in the room, the microphone can be a very frustrating piece of technology.
While it is impossible to solve every problem that employees have, there are a few things companies can do to help their workforce feel more comfortable about new technology.
First would be to create a progressive environment which embraces change and subsequently embraces technology. Second, plan and budget for regular technology upgrades. This keeps your equipment compatible, and will reinforce your commitment to staying technologically current. Lastly, take the time to train employees on new technologies, and allow for open dialogue about what will help the most.