How is technology impacting the work environment today?

I think you’ll agree when we say the work environment has come a long way.

From the industrial age of clattering keystrokes on a typewriter, to the modern day of receiving real-time alerts from anywhere with a click of the button.

Getting work done has truly never been easier than as it is now – all thanks to technology.

That’s why it may seem like you are continuously being told of how great technology in your workplace can be.

But is it always a good thing?

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Today, it is prudent for you to know not only the good – but the bad as well – so you can dial back on the negative changes, to shape a successful work environment for the future.

With that in mind, we discuss below how technology is impacting the work environment in both positive and negative ways.

Speed & efficiency

It’s no secret that today's workers are more productive than ever before. The effect of technology on business operations has exponentially increased the pace of production and speed at which business happens, both in manufacturing and in communication.

In the workplace, technology has also helped individuals become even more efficient. Indeed, the modern workplace relies extensively on online tools for efficiency. Take technology that automates processes for instance, what used to take hours can now take minutes because of these, thus freeing up workers to work on other project and assignments.

In every sense, there’s no doubt technology has cut down not only the time, but money needed to get things done.

Collaboration made easier

Working together has never been easier. Online communication and collaboration tools enable us to work closely with one another, even if half of a team are remote: Meetings between teams can be held remotely via video-conference, ensuring face-to-face communication can stay in place, and documents can be worked on simultaneously through the use of cloud-based storage solutions such as OneDrive.

This increased collaboration has also bought with it increased flexibility in communication, allowing employees, co-workers, and managers to connect with ease no matter where they happen to be working. As they can now connect and communicate the same regardless of location, this in turn has aided in encouraging employee teamwork, shared understanding, and bonding.

No need to work where live

The most significant effect of technology on the work environment is on the physical workplace itself. Technology has made it both possible and practical to work remotely – and the pandemic has proven to management that workers can be just as productive when away from the ties of the office.

Both elements combined have changed where people look for work, as well as where employers find the most talented candidates. Jobseekers are no longer limited to jobs in their local area, and businesses are able to hire qualified candidates even if they are located half a world away.

Evolving office culture

The rise of technology in the workplace has, perhaps surprisingly to some, altered the entire conception of workplaces. Indeed, it came hand in hand with the favouring of open office spaces.

While experts predict that these wide-open offices, popularised by tech giants such as Google and Facebook will become a thing of the past, the concept of forming a strong corporate culture in order to attract in-demand employees isn't going to be anywhere anytime soon. Companies will need to create incentives that keep those working in the office happy and drawn to it since technology has made it so efficient to work remotely.

Otherwise – why have an office at all?

Technology growing pains

Technology has certainly made business operations more streamlined and workforces more connected, but its impact has also created some problems – the implementation of new processes always involve a learning curve.

With workers separated by screens, miscommunication can occur. When you are glued to your email, productivity can drop. And automated voicemails can be frustrating for customers.

In certain circumstances, it is true that the old way is still better: Get everyone together in a room. Brainstorm using pen and paper. And pick up the phone if you need to talk to someone.

Difficult switching off

Since technology has enabled us to operate from anywhere at any time, a default ‘always on culture’ has been created. And it’s no surprise – personal devices that are connected to work email accounts and the consistent buzzing of notifications make it difficult to switch off.

Unfortunately, as stated in a Myers-Briggs report, technology is in fact a double-edged sword. It has empowered us but also enslaved us to some degree. Individuals are working longer hours, over the weekend, or even if they are sick.

The issue is this mentality doesn’t result in better work. Instead, it can lead increased levels of burnout and stress. When the distinction between work and home begin to obscure, performance and productivity can be dampened greatly.

Remember – we all need breaks to continue doing our best work, just like our bodies need sleep to function.

Privacy rights

Technology impacts is privacy rights – and sometimes not in the good way. For example, it has led to several issues being raised for employers and employees, especially in terms of the relationship between the privacy of workers and how employers must control and monitor the use of IT. While it is easy for management to see when employees have last been online, and in some cases, where they are – some could take this invasion of privacy too far.

If you are an employer, your senior staff should be aware of the privacy rights of staff and know how much is too much when it comes to monitoring employee activity – both in terms of where they are and what they’re doing.

Using technology for positive change

The roots of technology have now reached far further into our professional lives, and the changes it has bought, have both good and bad aspects. The most negative is perhaps surrounding the default ‘always on’ culture, which can dramatically impact employee mental as well as physical health – with privacy rights also being another serious issue.

However, we believe that the good uses, positive impacts of technology, far outweigh the bad. The tools that have streamlined tedious processes, increased collaboration, and made working from anywhere easier than ever have transformed the work environment today.

With over 16 years of experience, the entrust IT Group have seen how the constant flow of innovative technology has influenced the work environment today. Our consultancy has helped businesses navigate these changes, ensuring they have the tools and services necessary to thrive in today’s competitive marketplace, while also helping them find ways to overcome the bad impacts discussed in this blog.

The reality is, whether you like it or loathe it, technology is the lifeblood of modern business. That’s why forward-thinking companies like yours need to prioritise finding ways to encourage healthy habits and discourage the bad to help eliminate the negative changes a rise of technology in the workplace has bought. The next decade will see technology only continue to accelerate, so by investing in improving these areas now, it will ensure your business is prepared for the future workplace and enable you to keep up with this face-paced work culture.

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