Cell phones and email have elevated human interactions to a level that had never been experienced before. With mobile phones and email, individuals stay in touch and pass information to persons of interest regardless of the location or distance. Responses from recipients of calls or emails are quick, and some occasions can be instant if the targeted individuals are online. The commercialization of smartphones in 2007 added more value to cell phone and email communication than the previous technologies. These new gadgets are fitted with applications that enable users to access their email accounts, send photos and messages as well as make both audio and video calls. In spite of the convenience, speed, accuracy, and entertainment, several issues have been identified against mobile phones and email communication.
Email and cell phones have enhanced collaboration amongst employees at the workplace. According to Burg (2013), the staff solve work processes in a virtual world which means that there is less face-to-face communication to tackle issues that keep the organization moving forward. The use of conference rooms and whiteboards is an occasional activity as employees send information on schedules, updates, rosters, and learning materials on the email or social media platforms that are quickly accessed through cell phones. In effect, efficiency in the organizations has gained tremendous improvement as leaders can monitor employees and work processes from areas outside the business premises. Moreover, employee productivity has been boosted because employees no longer engage in frequent physical meetings to handle business issues.
Working away from the business premises is impacting positively on social relationships and thus, improved family ties. Citing earlier research, Burg (2013) notes that the practice of mobile working enables employees to arrive home early and spent more time with their partners. Acknowledging the mild disruptions of working at home, Burg argues that this environment offers an opportunity for family members to share more time than before. The satisfaction from this technology has been augmented by the development of video calls. As a result, spouses get more satisfaction from family relationships, resulting in minimal instances of depression in relationships.
Research show that work tools and job demands interact with each other to give employees a better working environment at the workplace. Job demands include high pressure to deliver tasks and demanding situations resulting from the presence of workmates and customers (Derks & Bakker, 2010).The availability of the emails and cell phones as tools that minimize physical contacts stabilizes employees emotions due to the autonomy to perform tasks (Burg, 2013).Such environment motivates since employees become more efficient in their output. Moreover, the environment promotes learning and personal development due to increased concentration on tasks and duties.
The widespread availability of smartphones allows users to manage personal calendar, browse the Internet, make phone calls as well as respond to emails (Derks & Bakker, 2010).These tools provide more convenience that was absent with the use of PCs. With such digital facilities, employees make calls and respond to emails anytime, anywhere. As such, they can quickly handle customer issues in an efficient and responsive manner. Studies conducted by Baruah (2012) offer an elaborate discussion on how organizations use social networking sites to market their products and services as well as respond to customer issues. The advent of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, among others, enables organizations to track customer trends and maintain better customer service relationships. These platforms have revolutionized customer service as customer issues are addressed quicker than before. Similarly, customers follow trends of the industry through updates provided on social sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, among others. The effect of these developments is that there is a closer relationship between the organizations and customers, making organizations more innovative to satisfy changing customer needs. All these benefits are realized because of the proliferation of smartphones.
Away from the business circles, cell phones and email have changed the way of socialization in the society. This happens at both personal and family levels. Research conducted by Villegas (2013) show that the family ties have been enhanced as a result of cell phone innovations. There is heavy usage of mobile phones to share photos and chat on social media platforms. This way, family members enjoy intimacy, love, and trust with each other regardless of the distances or locations (Derks & Bakker, 2010).The utilization of applications that facilitate games, music, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, among others, also permit users to derive more utility from the use of cell phones. The use of these applications is heavier in young people with research indicating that, on average, 8-to-18-year-olds spend at least 33 minutes on the phone every day and also spend about one hour and a half sending text and chat messages (Villegas, 2013).These exchanges have led to a dramatic reduction in the reliance of physical contacts for socialization amongst family members and friends.
However, the advent of email and cell phones has presented society with several challenges. Research show that the widespread use of smartphones has made individuals spend much time interacting with the phones, resulting in the development of deep relationships with the gadgets(Derks & Bakker, 2010).According to Holmes(2015) cell phones cause detrimental disruptions to individuals when they happen while the affected persons are in the company of partners or family members. The disruptions make partners feel snubbed from the loved ones. On the business front, employees are often disrupted from their families are a result of mobile teleworking. This happens especially when work circumstances force rather than a matter of personal choice (Derks & Bakker, 2010).These disruptions often cause conflicts which in the families and social relationships due to lower levels of satisfaction. Signing out of email can help remedy some of the challenges associated with email communication.
The use of emails at the workplace has been associated with low productivity and reduced job satisfaction. Derks and Bakker (2010) found that employees spend considerable time responding to email requests and updates, which are not part of the job descriptions. Such activities put a strain on the time the employee spends on the duties and tasks that directly impact on the job descriptions. Morgan (2013) explains that the forwarding of long email threads has become a norm in workplace settings. Therefore, employees spend much time seeping through the long conversations to understand the intention of the emails. Some employees go further by sending emails that contain information that can be categorized as belonging to a personal diary. All this voluminous information slows employee work rate. Burkus (2016) reports that the problem is being recognized as evidenced by the growing number of corporate heads limiting access to email to protect productivity. According to Burkus, the no-email situations make employees engage more in face-to-face communication and also through office telephone. This makes them more focused on tasks than when working alongside a multi-tasking email environment.
Although the smartphones have improved learning outcomes through ease access to educational material over the Internet (Villegas, 2013), these gadgets have been responsible for some of the bullying cases reported in schools and public places. The Internet and cell phones are the major sources of bullying of teens in the United States (Donegan, 2012).Studies of Donegan show that the bullying is done on the cell phones and the internet that is available in schools. Bullies use the mentioned interpersonal connectivity to send text messages and pictures that demean the esteem of teenagers, leading depression and suicides. The effect of bullying is illustrated in the case of Amanda Todd, the Canadian teen who committed suicide as a result of offensive comments about her appearance.
Cell phones and email technologies have had an extensive impact on relationships and communication. Cell phones enable users to derive entertainment, make video and voice calls, share intimate conversations, and maintain family ties. Emails and smartphones have also enhanced mobility in carrying out duties. Besides, the advent of emails allows business leaders to manage people and work processes without the traditional face-to-face conversations. Furthermore, business organizations are exploiting the use of email and smartphones to market products and handle customer issues through social networking sites. However, the widespread use of email and cell phones is straining family relationships, reducing productivity at the workplace, and increased bullying cases on the Internet. Like other technologies, email and cell phones will continue to evolve for better lives of users. The solution is to learn how to live with them through accommodation, management, and absorption of the risks involved.
Baruah, T. D. (2012). Effectiveness of Social Media as a tool of communication and its potential for technology-enabled connections: A micro-level study. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 2(5), 1-10.
Burg, N. (2013, December 10). How Technology Has Changed Workplace Communication. Forbes.
Burkus, D. (2016, April 6). How Email Made You Less Productive. Forbes.
Derks, D., & Bakker, A. B. (2010). The Impact of E-mail Communication on Organizational Life. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 4(1).
Donegan, R. (2012). Bullying and Cyberbullying: History, Statistics, Law, Prevention and Analysis. Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, 3(1), 33-42.
Holmes, L. (2015, October 1). Your Phone Habits May Be Damaging Your Relationship. The Huffington Post [New York].
Morgan, J. (2013, October 15). 5 Ways Email Makes Your Employees Miserable. Forbes.
Villegas, A. (2013). The Influence of Technology on Family Dynamics. Proceeding of the New York State Communication Association,Fordham University .
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