As a human resources professional I know that the way in which people behave within an organisation is often defined not by the book of policies and procedures that I have provided but by the example set by senior managers and other people lower down the hierarchy who have influence.
If your workaholic managing director has a habit of sending emails late at night or in the early hours of the morning, there will be employees who believe that it is essential to provide an instant reply, as if the communication had been received at 10am.
Obviously, this is not the fault of the technology, it was designed by human beings to make life easier, the problems come from the way in human beings decide to use that technology.
A quick Google search suggests that the negative effects of not being able to switch off, so long as the mobile telephone or tablet is on does have a negative impact on both mental and physical health.
In the example above the actions of one senior manager negate the efforts of a HR professional to implement a well-being or mental health strategy because that manager has created a culture in which some employees may believe that the way to build a career is to always be available and never switch off their technology.
As HR professionals it is important that we look at how employees use the tools that are available to them. Just because a car is capable of a high speed does not make it safe or desirable for it to be driven at that speed in a residential area.
Cyborg anthropologist and user-experience designer Amber Case believes that the development of computing technology has reached a critical stage.
With the pace of development in technology getting ever faster, we need to start thinking about how we retake control of that technology so that we can both ensure its capabilities are used to create the maximum positive impact on the business without creating a negative impact on employees.
It is now important says Case, in her book Calm Technology Principles and Patterns for Non-Intrusive Design, that creators and users of technology shift their focus to how humans interact with computer technology in all of its forms.
Calm Technology Principles and Patterns for Non-Intrusive Design is this week’s free getAbstract book summary which is available from the Work Place Learning Centre.
In her book, Case expounds a little-known paper written by two Xerox PARC researchers in the 1990s that promoted the idea of calm technology as providing a route map for the way forward to develop a positive working relationship between technology and work.
Case describes the “principles and patterns” of calm technology, with real world examples of how some technology fails to incorporate these or account for the human element in their function.
She then provides tools that will improve how current technology can be used better and discusses how to design technology to interact with people more effectively.
She asserts that calm technology has the potential to change fundamentally how people relate to technology, to reduce anxiety and to enhance productivity.
In this free getAbstract book summary from Work Place Learning Centre you will learn:
- Why “calm technology” should be an essential part of design,
- Which design principles calm technology follows, and
- How to implement calm technology in product design and across your organization.
Use this link to access the free getAbstract book summary from Work Place Learning Centre