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Hand-helds, laptops and ‘friending’: Managing the new culture clash

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in Business Etiquette,Career Management,HR Management,Human Resources,Workplace Communication

Technology is blurring the lines between work and leisure and revealing real tensions between Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomer employees.

A recent LexisNexis survey reveals divergent ideas about what is and isn’t an appropriate use of technology and software in the white-collar workplace:

  • More than two-thirds (68%) of all boomers agree that hand-held gadgets contribute to a decline in proper workplace etiquette, but less than half (46%) of Gen Y workers do.
  • More than two-thirds of boomer workers think the use of a laptop during in-person meetings is “distracting” (68%), yet less than half (49%) of Gen Y workers think so.
  • Only 28% of boomers think that blogging about work-related issues is acceptable. On the other hand, 41% of Gen Y’ers think it’s OK.
  • While only 38% of boomers think it’s appropriate to befriend a colleague on a social networking site, three-quarters (76%) of Gen Y workers do.

Tip: HR pros can help model a way out of this culture clash. Since the digital divide is especially apparent during meetings, try setting “gadget ground rules” for your meetings, so everyone knows what behavior is expected—even if not everyone views technology the same way.

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