Are you in control of your cyber creep?

Has your personal life succumbed to the cyber habits of the office? Cyber creep is killing conversations and undermining relationships at work and at home – a survey by Good Technology reported that 69% of staff check their emails before they go to bed!

Are you living a cyber life – one that is spent on the internet?

A One Poll survey suggests we spend 9 hours a day in the UK looking at a screen and check our mobile phones 200 times a day – assuming the average person is awake for 18 hours a day then we spend half our life looking at a screen and check our phone every 5 minutes.

McKinsey Global Institute said that office staff spends over 25% of their time during the working day writing and responding to emails and that was 3 years ago!

The Global Web Index says in the UK we are active on an average of 4 social networks each (for example Linkedin, Facebook, You Tube and Twitter) and spend an average 1 hour 50 minutes each day managing them!

No wonder more of us are wearing glasses “Just under 60 per cent of Britons now wear prescription glasses or contact lenses on a regular basis” (research analysts Taylor Nelson Sofres)

The pressure on our children to live a cyber life means they are not only missing out on real world experiences but are at risk of being ill equipped for what life throws at them as they grow up. Speaking with a business owner in Educational Toys I was shown The Key, State Of Education survey 2016. The research suggests alarming numbers of four- and five year-olds could be behind in a range of ways, including delayed speech and social skills. Some of the 1,100 respondents blamed mobile technology’s intrusion on family life and one primary school head teacher said, “Four-year-olds know how to swipe a phone but haven’t a clue about conversations.”

Living a cyber life is not just a Western issue, the Chinese use the term “Indoorsy” to describe people who to choose to stay at home, depending on cyber communication with the outside world. Activities that traditionally required the individual to leave the home can now be fulfilled without going out… they can speak to family and friends, play team games online, make new friends, find life partners, study for a new career, shop and download entertainment.

I recently found myself questioning the extent to which cyber creep had encroached on my life – sitting down for a “holiday” lunch with 3 friends we all instinctively placed our mobiles on the table. Enjoying pre-dinner drinks with clients the vibration in my pocket alerted me to a text – one I was expecting from my daughter – as the conversation continued I took a quick glance and responded with a couple of finger taps before switching it off and slipping it back in my pocket. The affront to my conscience was that a year earlier I would have explained I was expecting a text and asked if anyone minded if I responded before switching the phone off.

In the not too distant future successful businesses will require two skill sets, human skills and cyber skills, yet I have a genuine concern that the drive for the latter will be at the expense of the former, that communication will be cyber driven and not face to face. The same One Poll survey encouragingly reports that 50% of those surveyed “felt technology has made us worse at communicating with each other”.

Clearly businesses need to invest in their people as well as their processes if they are to add value and differentiate themselves in today’s cyber world.

Since 2013 I have been helping ambitious SMEs with their Strategic and Leadership challenges.

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Posted in communication, Company Culture, e-commerce, Engagement, Skill Sets, Social Media, Values
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