How technology is dumbing down your staff

HRD looks at whether rapidly-changing technology is counterproductive to the cause of developing employees

How technology is dumbing down your staff
Technology has enabled us to do much more than we did before, but in some ways it makes us a lazy, according to Dr Jenny Brockis, medical practitioner and author of the book Future Brain: The 12 Keys To Create Your High Performance Brain.

“It has changed how we think, it has changed how we learn, it has changed how we entertain ourselves and in some ways it can contribute to mindless behaviour,” she told HRD.  

“For example, many of us are walking around with our heads down on our phones and having more accidents. Is that dumbing us down? I think that is.”

So what’s the answer for employees who use computers and smartphones regularly?

It really comes down to choosing to use technology wisely, said Dr Brockis.

“We learn how to do certain things at school and now we have all these apps which can do it much more quickly for us,” Brockis said.

“And we know it will be more accurate too. So we take the easy option because it’s quick and it’s easy.

“However, it’s the slower route which is actually involving us to think something through and work out the answer.”

Indeed, where attention to detail counts, it’s necessary to slow our thinking down.

Dr Brockis said it’s important to reflect on what’s necessary in your life and how you need to apply your thinking.

“If speed is the order of the day then certainly accessing the technology is the way to go,” she said.

“But if you want to have that deeper, more reflective thought, then removing yourself from technology is important.”

In fact, it has been shown we learn more effectively and retain the information better if we take notes using a pen on paper compared to using a keyboard, she says.

“If you’re studying things for work or general interest, sometimes going back to what we used to do, the old fashioned ways of things, actually helps us to be more effective in how we apply our brain and our thinking.”   
Dr Brockis added that it also helps to switch off the phone or turn off the computer (even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes) at some point or at several points during the day.

"This helps us to reengage with what the time actually is,” said Dr Brockis.

“This also helps to slow down frantic thinking and enables us to feel like we actually do have time to get on with work."

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