From Desktop to Laptop to Tablet to ?: Workplace Safety Communication

Telephone Booth

Take a quick walk around your office. What do you see? Chances are high that you saw employees working on laptops. You saw a few people tapping away on their smartphones. Likely a few people had tablets on their desks as well.

Think back a few years ago and think about what your office walk around would have looked like… Desktop computers, very few mobile devices, standard telephones on the desk, and big heavy monitors.

And this worked. The tools we were using a few years ago met our needs and most of us never thought that we’d need to change. Guess we were wrong about that!

The key now for businesses is learning how to keep up with and stay slightly ahead of the technology shift that is happening. Employees will always be the early adopters of new technologies and methods of communication. Our employees look for the tools and methods that make it easiest for them to do their jobs, to stay connected and to relax.

Today in 2015, this means smartphones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices. Oh and we can’t forget smart watches, activity trackers, and the wide range of apps that allow us to text, snap photos, share details and communicate.

So what does this technology shift mean for you as a business owner or manager? Essentially it means that you need to be willing and open to adapt.

This can mean exploring the options for remote offices (particularly useful when a threat or disaster occurs) - do you have employees that can easily work-from-home?

This also means thinking about how you and your team communicate. Does the traditional face-to-face meeting still make sense? Perhaps you can take advantage of tools such as Skype and WebEx.

What about when a business interruption occurs - how will you act on your corporate emergency plan? It used to be that the phone kind of worked for workplace safety communication. Someone in the office had a call list and would painstakingly call each employee… This didn’t work then and isn’t going to work now. So what do you do?

Well, think back to that office walk around. What did you see? Laptops, smartphones, tablets, and smart watches. This means you need to determine how to communicate your office safety programs with your employees using the very methods they use to communicate with each other.

Not only is it vital for business productivity that employees are using the best possible tools available but it is also vital for business longevity and security. There is not much point in having a list of employee home phone numbers when this list is out-of-date because most folks in your office no longer have a land line. What about email? We get so many emails these days that fewer and fewer of us are paying attention to it - not very useful in a time of emergency or crisis.

How you work today isn’t the way you’ll be working tomorrow. How you communicate today isn’t the way you’ll communicate tomorrow. How you respond to a disaster or threat today isn’t how you’ll respond tomorrow. (Maybe it’s time to look into a crisis communication app?)

(Hint, take the time today to revisit your business continuity/disaster recovery plans. Think about how you’ll contact your employees in the event of an interruption. Think about how your employees will respond to you. Think about what you need to tell your employees and the best way to do this. You may need to update your corporate emergency plan…)

Not convinced that you need to be thinking about and talking about this technology shift and your business? These articles might help: