Personal Blog (scroll down)
The Thing about NO Technologies
The Thing about NO Technologies

The Thing about NO Technologies

RG Stoplights (240)This morning, InfoWorld put forward a piece by Galen Gruman, “Why you should embrace the cost of mobile.” Reading Galen’s pieces, you quickly learn at least two things: He is a very big Apple proponent. And, he is big on mobile technology.  So much so, you need to check the shade of rose colored glasses he’s wearing as you read his pieces.

Even so, his latest piece is one of the better, the few, pieces of it’s kind taking a real-world look at the value Mobile bring to business.  I particularly enjoyed the second page, discussing the impact of ‘No’ technologies vs. ‘Yes.’

We have each found ourselves confronted by No.

These are the tools that limit internet access, block access to social media, scan your email for too many flesh-toned pixels, or Blackberry cell plans with SMS disabled (yes, really).

jtpedersen_stop_control_no_technologiesA major automotive manufacturer I did work for last year, was Big on No.  No, you can’t take the laptop home. No, your ID badge will not let you come in early (nor stay very late).  No, you can’t use the internet for doing research (without a special one-day access request being granted).  No, we won’t work with you on your cell bill (though being to reach you by cell was expected).

You know what?  I followed their example and did No work outside normal hours.  No, I did not give them my cell # for use on my dime.  But Yes, it felt great.  When I left for the day, I left.  Very liberating feeling actually, after 15 years of being almost always accessible.

Seems petty at times.  Other places, I’ve probably worked as much as 50% more because the tools and flexibility enabled doing so…and the company understood the value.

So, what do you think?  When a company employs No technologies in an effort to control you, what is the impact? Do they achieve what they’re after?

Image credit(s):
Stop:  Svilen Milev
Signals:  Asif Akbar


  1. My first question, JT, would be understanding their motivation. Is it to control you? Is that really their culture? Is the liberating feeling of really being offline a good thing in that they DO want to help you have work/life balance? Or is that just a good by-product. Is it ok that they are different than the workaholic prevailing norm of work over family & personal time with increased access?

    I’m being devils advocate here, of course, as I’m one of those who so far thrives in being available, but not when I’m at special events or key family time. Underneath it all is their company values. Are they really a more mechanized old school firm where the motivations are industrialized control? Should we give them a chance to be different in persisting in that way?

    1. JT

      Hello Deb,

      Valid questions. I am aware of companies that do apply limits, such as strict work hours, or texting services that are shut off at 5p, in order to promote work-life balance. They’re so rare, they make the front pages of newspapers or magazines. Far from the norm in my experience.

      What I have personally noted, the single biggest cause is ignorance and, or narrow view as to the breadth of impact. For instance, in the company that gave me a Blackberry with its SMS service turned off. They spent a lot of money to provide them to us, yet neutered it to save a few bucks. Underlying that, a COO that simply didn’t like ‘texting’ and saw no reason for anyone else to have it. Only after mounting a campaign to convince him of its value, did he enable mine. Just mine. A narrow view.

      More often, what seems to drive these behavior is one thing: TRUST. Or rather, a lack of trust. Employers don’t trust their employees to use the internet for business use. I view the internet the same way I do the telephone. It is a utility for me to do my job; yet they do not filter my phone calls.

      Yes, some people do abuse the privileges afforded by the tools provided them. Yet how much more do they lose by constraining ‘everybody’? It reminds me of an early Star Wars quote, where Princess Leia, speaking to General Tarken says (paraphrasing), “…the more you tighten you grip, the more grains of sand will slip from your grasp.”

  2. I wonder how many of these cases are based on corporate policy, that the CEO is setting, or are a function of Chief of HR and CIO power gone rogue. In the latter cases, my guess is the CEO isn’t aware. the connection to productivity, innovation, and even morale is do obvious. Then again, there is the case of CEOs being blissfully ignorant of what is happening in the rank and file on these kinds of policies. For me, and the organizations I work with, the “NO Technologies” approach doesn’t work.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: