4 Ways Technology Has Affected the Workforce
Technology is an inescapable part of our lives. According to Patrick Cox, the editor of Transformational Technology Alert, “There has been more technological improvement in the last 50 years than in the previous 5,000.”
That’s not surprising, is it? Depending on your generation (we’re talking mainly to older Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers here), you may still remember the days of dial-up internet, the first computer (which took up a whole room), the first cell phone (which wasn’t all that mobile, compared to what we have today), film cameras, and the other great technological inventions and advances.
While it’s not surprising, and while it’s afforded us many opportunities and advancements, it’s also created a few challenges. Today, we’re covering four of the biggest impacts of technology on the workforce.
Check it out:
Engagement with Remote Employees
With all the advances in technology, especially online applications, business have been able to engage remote employees a lot more effectively and regularly. Communication is seamless via videoconferencing and web chat services like Slack, Telegram, Google Chat, and more. Plus, with VPNs, which enable at-home access to company networks, employees have the potential to be just as effective at home as in the office. In fact, 3.9 million U.S. workers (3% of the total workforce) now work from home at least half the time, an increase from 1.8 million in 2005, according to the Flexjobs 2017 State of Telecommuting U.S. study.
Collaboration Tools and Open Communication
With these same chat services, online apps, and more, communication within the office has risen to an all-time high. Employees now have the option to use the “old-school” method of picking up their desk phone and dialing an extension, the “getting-exercise” method of getting up and walking to a coworker’s desk, the “non-urgent” method of sending an email, or the “I-need-you-now” method of using a chat service, like the ones mentioned above. Or, if you really want to make sure they get the message, you can always text them on their personal cell phone.
With all the information that’s out on the world wide web, it’s now easier than ever to earn professional certifications and expand employees’ knowledge and skillsets when it comes to their job. Financial assistance for advanced degrees, in many organizations, has given way to paying for eLearning software or online courses. It’s opened up employees to a vast amount of information—right at their fingertips.
While the other three effects have been positive, this one is a little more challenging to define. Technology has enabled employees to work more flexible hours, work from home, and many other benefits, but it’s also created a learning curve in how employees manage their work schedule in relation to their home life. With email linked up to their phones, sending notifications at all hours of the evening, it can be hard for employees to shut off their work and truly engage in their extracurricular activities. In a work-life survey administered to the federal workforce in early 2017, 83% of respondents reported that their professional and personal and/or family life needs interfere with each other at least to some degree. We agree with the Harvard Business Review, which says that communicating boundaries is key. Employees should beware the “always on” mentality.
Technology Also Impacts Your Company Culture
As mentioned above, technology can affect your workforce (and in turn, your company culture) in both positive and negative ways. Experiencing and utilizing advanced technology can be beneficial for both employers and employees, but it also requires both balance and boundaries.
How are you staying ahead of the curve on technology? Have you integrated tech with employee engagement yet?
For technology related (or non-technology related) ideas on how to improve your company culture, contact us! Our team of experts would love to talk with you about our in-depth programs and rewards to keep your employees engaged and focused. Request a FREE demo here, or call us at 888.919.7600.