Magazine article The Journal of Employee Assistance

Our Mission and Business Should Drive Technology

Magazine article The Journal of Employee Assistance

Our Mission and Business Should Drive Technology

Article excerpt

Several articles that have appeared in the Journal in recent years (and many of these columns as well) have emphasized the need for employee assistance professionals to become conversant in the language of business and position themselves firmly in the "world of work." Increasingly, that language and that world are changing to reflect the growing use and impact of information technology.

In one sense, information technology allows us to eliminate boundaries of time and distance. We can place and receive calls from all over the world, check and send e-mail messages at any time of day or night, and browse the Internet while eating lunch at our favorite restaurant. We can meet with colleagues in other cities and countries without leaving our desks and finalize major deals from the seats of our cars.

But eliminating time and distance boundaries requires us to pay more attention to others, particularly personal and social boundaries. We also need to be more aware of ethical and personal values to ensure that technological advances do not encroach upon them or relegate them to the sidelines.

At the same time, we must keep in mind that technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself. We need to remain focused on the mission and business of our EAPs and our employer clients and let them drive our technology decisions, not vice versa.

This issue of the Journal looks at the electronic society from both perspectives--that of employers and that of EAPs. One article discusses approaches that employers can take to overcome the "digital divide" and encourage all workers to use information technology to its fullest potential. The other describes how employee assistance professionals can utilize technology to help respond to mass disasters and crises.

In addition to these theme articles, you'll find five features that touch on a wide variety of issues:

* Meeting the challenges posed by "free" and low-cost EAPs;

* Providing services to Hispanic workers;

* Raising alcohol awareness among employees:

* Identifying why and how employers use EAPs; and

* Developing research to bolster the business case for EAPs. …

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