This is a guest post by Sean Hambrick, commercial property manager and consultant. He enjoys sharing his tips and insights on various commercial property blogs. See here for more information on serviced offices city.
The prevailing technologies of the 21st century include smartphones, tablets, in-car communications and video games. Personal computers have dominated over the past two decades, but other means of communication have now emerged.
With such ease of technological connectivity, the chances that abuse or misuse will occur has increased dramatically in recent years. For business managers, ensuring that etiquette is always followed is important, including the following strategies for the digital age.
Emailing – Your staff are your eyes, ears and your voice when you are not around. When it comes to customer contact by way of email, you want them to represent your business with professionalism. Just as you would with any written correspondence.
Instruct your staff to use only the corporate email account to interact with customers. Those interactions should be limited to questions at hand including production information and services. Explain to your staff that a permanent electronic trail of every communication is kept. Audit these communications to ensure that your staff is following your instructions. Train your staff as needed.
Texting/IMing — Instant messages and text messages are so convenient. These can also cause companies so many problems especially if employees are careless in their messaging.
Your attorney may have a say here especially if the devices used for disseminating information are owned by the company. You can quickly find yourself in legal hot water if someone sends out a message that is inappropriate. Develop an in-house policy that is sensible and understood by all.
Smart phones — The traditional cell phone is now a smart phone, a personal device that can access the the Internet, download games, take pictures and handle a myriad number of other matters. Indeed, for many people the smartphone is now the way that they connect online, and it may be the way that your staff and managers connect too.
Highly convenient, smart phones can be disruptive too. When you are looking for your staff to produce, the last thing that you want is for them to be using their handheld devices for their personal shopping, to contact friends or perform other non work related tasks. Explain to your staff when a smart phone can be used and for what business purposes.
Social Media — Not since community bulletin boards has social media or social networking made it so difficult for companies to control information. If your staff is trained, responsibility and thoughtful, your concern for places such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Facebook, Digg, Pinterest and the rest should not be a big deal for you. Then again, if your staff is fairly new, young or simply untrained, they may not have a full appreciation for your many concerns.
Ground rules are needed when employees use social media and are identified online as working for you. There is a personal approach that people can take and still fall within your good graces. For instance, if you permit someone to use Twitter you can insist that they include the terms “my tweets are my personal viewpoint only” and leave it at that. You can also limit the use of your social media accounts to a trusted few individuals, requiring everyone else to now interact online as a company representative.
Digital Usage – Lastly, using office equipment for personal means has been going on before computers arrived. Back then, it was the copy machine. Before that, it was the telephone. Clearly, office managers have been challenged for generations on how best to respond. Perhaps the best way to respond is to enlist the support of your people by identifying possible problems, discussing solutions and developing an approach that is both reasonable and respectful of all concerned.