Too many phones, too little time (Guest Commentary)

Staff need HR’s help with communication technology
By Mario Belanger
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/08/2004

The evolution of communication technology has been so gradual that few enterprises have seen the need to address it formally. How many companies provide employees with as much information on communications as they might on health benefits or codes of conduct? Yet there are many decisions to make regarding the deployment and use of the multitude of devices available to workers.

From a financial perspective, employers must evaluate the overall benefits and costs of ownership associated with pagers, cell phones, personal digital assistants and other handheld devices. IT and divisional management must agree on which devices make the most sense for their organizations. And businesses unable to manage these new devices risk hindering efficient communication between customers and staff.

Employees use multiple modes to stay in touch. Many workers have three or four phone numbers and e-mail addresses which, ironically, can make it more difficult for customers and co-workers to know the best means to contact them. Without a way to control and direct the information flow, an inverse relationship occurs between the number of devices in use and the time it takes for a message to be returned.