What Has Happened to Our Time?

Where has our time gone?  We have:  cell phones, computers, email, web conferencing, cars, washers, dryers, vacuum cleaners, PDAs – hey, weren’t they all suppose to free up some time?

Have you ever wondered how people worked in offices before there were computers, cell phones, email, PDAs, etc.?  Think about it – at one time in history, office work consisted of pen and paper.  Paper was very expensive and ink came out of  an ink well onto a feather nib!  You can imagine it was likely a much quieter environment.  When an employee went home, there were no phones to reach them with nor emails.

Yet, today, with all the tools available, we are frantic!  Whenever I’m sitting in a waiting room or walking on the streets on a week day, I love to watch people.  Some people’s facial expressions are so tense I want to run up to them and say, “How’s your day going?  Can I help?”

Why is it that we are so stressed at work?

One theory, among many,  is that we “rushed” to buy the latest gadget and the latest software without asking ourselves first whether we needed it or not or whether the latest and greatest suited our business.  Everyone else was doing it – we couldn’t be left behind.

The rush to “keep up with the other businesses” left many with huge expenditures in time and money.  If everyone, before buying anything, had asked themselves, “How will this gadget improve the bottom line?”, there might have been a more rationale approach to buying the newest technology offered only to be tempted by something supposedly even better six months down the road!

Decision-makers need to be involved with the people within the Company and not so concerned how “they look” from the outside.  Whenever the latest is being sold to your company, create a group of 4 or 5 people from the company who will be the most affected by any proposed change.  So, if the change is new software for the assembly line, put together a group who work at the different stages of the assembly line.  Make them part of the decision-making process.  Yes, they may not want change and they may fear losing their jobs.  Be honest and open – talk about their fears – don’t hide anything. 

In every part of the operation, if decision makers had worked hand-in-hand with the people who would be most affected by the changes, changes would have been right and serve everyone.  How many times in offices did I see an accountant delegated to buy office software for secretaries to use?  How could an accountant ever possibly know what a secretary needs to do his or her job?  They can’t.  Or how many times have you seen elected officials make laws or policies which impacted people’s livelihood without ever contacting the people in the industry?  The results were disastrous.

When the latest and greatest comes out again,

First, ask yourself:   “Do we need it?  How will it help us?. 

Second: gather members of the group which will be affected and ask for their opinion and suggestions –  make them part of the decision. 

Third, ask yourself:  What will be the costs in time and money to implement it?  Can we afford it?”

And ask yourself how you “turn down the stress levels” in your company – there are always little things which can be done especially if you concentrate on  highly functioning, efficient and effective operations.

Lorraine Arams

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