September 17, 2003

All Tech and No Play Gives Jack Mental Health Problems

From the Seattle Times: "Too much technology diminishes work relationships, author says"

Tim Sanders, Yahoo's Chief Solutions Officer, relates how the increasing use of technology reduced social interaction at work, rendered him emotionally empty and contributed to other mental and relationship problems -- including depression and insomnia. He coins it the "New Economy Depression Syndrome," a state of work-related stress brought on by information overload, constant interruption by technology (think e-mail, instant messaging and cell phones) and the increasing personal isolation that technology affords us.

Let's see, I spent a considerable amount of time on the computer both today and this evening, I just checked my e-mail, I'm posting this after midnight, and am communicating electronically to many people with whom I can't directly speak when they read this.

Now I'm depressed...

Seriously, though, besides explaining why work makes some people ill, it underscores the need for molding a firm's culture, increasing team building opportunities, and simply just taking a co-worker to lunch. We've all been involved in e-mail exchanges that were less than friendly. I find it telling that in speaking with fellow attorneys about the use of electronic chat, instant messaging, or forum software within my firm, some replied they simply preferred walking down the hall to ask a colleague a question, or having a "brown bag" lunch meeting to chat about the latest issues.

Just goes to show we really are social creatures by nature, and it's a group thing. Just think, the next time an office server goes down, you'll feel better... right? ;^)

(Thanks goes to Tony Chan of Quarles & Brady LLP for sending me the Seattle Times link and a much-needed chuckle.)

Topic(s):   Law Practice Management
Posted by Jeff Beard