The Internet has become central to everyday working life and has undoubtedly had a profound effect on business methods. Businesses have arguably become more easily accessible and business methods more immediate and efficient. Whilst the Internet is here to stay, it is interesting to consider how business methods would differ without it and whether some aspects of business would see an improvement. From increased face-to-face contact to greater literacy skills, there are many aspects of business that would be greatly altered were we not to use the Internet.

Increased Face-to-Face Contact

Tools such as email and conference calls mean that pitches no longer solely take place in boardrooms, resulting in a reduction of face-to-face contact. A physical presence when presenting products and portfolios etc. to colleagues or other businesses can be extremely beneficial, particularly as eye contact and body language can significantly impact on people’s opinions, with eye contact often being linked to honesty. Body language can also convey messages that words alone are unable to communicate. Additionally, greater exposure to other people would benefit people’s interpersonal skills and could also see an improvement in workplace morale.

Improved Literacy Skills

Letter writing as a principle method of written communication, particularly if done by hand, would greatly improve literacy skills. Unable to rely on spell-check or auto-correct, writing letters by hand would require a higher level of concentration and would see an improvement in general literacy skills as well as spelling and penmanship. Also, a handwritten letter, while perhaps more time consuming, gives business a more personal touch, the effects of which could be rewarding.

Greater Use of Books and Journals

Arguably, businesses without the Internet would see a greater usage of books and journals for research and referencing purposes. Using books and journals is perhaps preferable to using the Internet, as they can be more reliable sources than websites. With an infinite number of sources and information available at the click of a mouse using books and journals can make information easier to organise and digest.

Organisational Skills

Unable to rely solely on meeting requests via email and online diaries may potentially mean people would have a greater self-awareness of time management and organisation.

Increased Efficiency of Workforce

It could be argued that offline business methods as a whole would be more efficient and workers more focused. With its endless distractions, the Internet can at times be seen to get in the way of productivity. Without entertainment and social networking sites, workforces might find it easier to concentrate and focus on the task at hand. There is also less reliance on something that can fall foul of human error without a moment’s notice. Business processes reliant on the Internet can be severely impacted if it should ‘go down’, a factor that would be incomprehensible without the Internet.

More Personable Employee Training and Support

Although training via online courses may seem more efficient and cost effective, it might not be the case. For many, the face-to-face approach to training is still considered to be the best as it allows for interaction, permitting employees to ask questions and receive direct responses and elaboration when needed. Despite it now being custom in many organisations to ask for support online and wait for your query to be dealt with, a more personable approach to support could see the issue dealt with more rapidly and with greater reassurance.

Whether the outlined benefits of offline business methods outweigh the cons is for you to decide. While there is no doubt that the Internet is here to stay, it is clear that there would be some improvements if certain business methods were less web-centric.