I’ve been doing a little bit of travel lately and noticed a wonderful way employees are using their smartphones to take pictures of things happening in the workplace. Sometimes we immediately assume the worst – that employees are taking photos to embarrass the company or file a complaint. What I witnessed was employees taking photos to improve the work environment. Here are some examples:
- Maintenance issues – An employee sees something broken that the maintenance or facilities department needs to address. Instead of going to an office to fill out a form, the employee takes a photo and sends it to them. The employee has immediately addressed the matter. No chance of the employee forgetting. The maintenance department can see what the problem is and attach the proper priority to fixing it. This is a perfect addition to your quality control efforts.
- Safety issues – Sometimes maintenance issues are also a safety concern but sometimes they’re not. The last thing we want is an employee leaving the safety hazard unattended. Safety matters can be addressed immediately and there’s a reduced chance of someone getting hurt.
- Communication – Especially during a crisis or disaster, the company needs a way to communicate with employees and vice versa. Now that we have this technology at our disposal, companies should look for ways to use it to the employees’ and company benefit. If your organization has a disaster plan, maybe it’s time to review it and incorporate images and image sharing into the plan.
- Creative inspiration – Some of our best ideas can happen when we’re not at work. We see something at a conference or while running errands and want to remember it. Maybe it’s a business practice that would work well at our company. Taking a photo can remind us of the idea we want to bring back to our workplace.
- Training – I’ve mentioned before how cameras can be used in training sessions. This doesn’t have to be confined to a formal classroom setting. Employees can take photos while they are completing a task so the images can be shared with someone else. Think of it as a form of knowledge transfer.
Obviously companies that want to take advantage of the benefits that photography can bring will want to dust off their policy manual and make sure their “cameras in the workplace” policy and practice are in alignment. It might involve a quick call to your friendly employment attorney.
Today’s employees are used to having a camera at the ready. Organizations have to decide how they want to manage this form of technology: as a nuisance or as a strategic advantage.
Image courtesy of HR Bartender0