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Inc 5000 Great Places to Work

You’re Still Using What? The 3 Departments Behind the Curve on Office Trends

Ask the PR department how your company is doing on office trends, and you’re likely to hear that the CEO reinvented the internet, the department heads are forging new ways to work remotely using telepathy, and the receptionist is using his spare time to create the world’s first office cubicle/spaceship. The reality, of course, is significantly less impressive. Here are the departments most likely to be totally out of the loop when it comes to trends.

1. Human Resources
HR makes (or at least administers) all the important policies regarding employee behavior. This includes everyone’s favorite policy: the one that allows employees to work remotely. We know people who won’t take jobs that don’t have work-at-home provisions, and HR is the department that makes all of that happen. Which is why it’s so particularly sad that the folks in HR are often forbidden from working at home themselves.

2. Editorial
Print isn’t dead, but it’s not feeling so well, and this could be why: Editorial departments at book publishing companies are famously, and proudly, behind the times. We’ve heard of places that still use those old carbon triplicate forms, despite having whole databases from which reports could easily be run. Maybe there’s something about working with paper that makes physical paperwork seem like a really good idea.

3. Sales
To be fair, sales departments go one of two ways: You either have the super cutting-edge sellers who use their PDAs more than most people use their toothbrushes, or you have who keep their entire contact database in their head, and think of sales force management software as a kind of boogeyman that lives in other people’s computers.

On the other end of the spectrum…

There are, however, some departments that are known for being ahead of the curve. These are the groups we look to when we need a model of how to modernize. (OK, first we make fun of them for being nerds. Then we use them as a model of progressiveness.)

1. IT
Oh, IT. Without you, we would be typing this blog post on a slate, with a chisel. You were totally right when you said we would one day be using a smartphone, Twitter, and Facebook. We’re very sorry that we haven’t been listening to whatever you’re predicting we’ll be using next year. We know we’ll live to regret it.

2. Social Media Marketing
The social media department is the youngest department at most companies, both in terms of how long the department has been in existence, and in terms of the average age of the people who work there. It would be a lot easier to follow what they were saying if we weren’t afraid that they were going to start talking about Justin Bieber. Anyway, they’re throwing a Twitter party, or something. Arm yourself with hashtags and just pretend you know what they’re talking about.

Images: 1., 2., 3. , 4., 5.

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