Technology dominates our personal lives. Now, in a similar fashion, it’s also dominating our professional lives. Incredible tech innovations previously thought feasible only in sci-fi movies are now making our work lives simpler and more productive. For the better or worse, here are the technological advances that are swiftly changing our workplaces as we know them:
Forget labour legislation, it’s actually the tech companies that are making headways into creating opportunities for employees to balance work and home life better. Popular handheld devices, like smartphones and iPads, have reshaped how people communicate with each other. With a handheld device, it has become possible for an employee to be available online 24/7, access work emails from home, or finish a project while travelling. Better yet, work-related emergencies can now have quick solutions. For example, a local company that specialises in managed IT services Brisbane can offer customer support round the clock for a client in Sydney or London with an app on a smartphone. With all these conveniences, there’s also a dark side to using handheld devices for work. It makes it difficult for employees to truly be off the clock. As bosses and co-workers have constant access to an employee, the lines between work and home begins to blur.
Online file storage and transfer has enormously affected the modern workplace, especially for start-ups and small businesses. In the past, companies had to spend a fortune to transfer important documents between employees via email. Uploading and downloading documents via email or a private server consumes massive amounts of data, which result in sky-high broadband bills. High data traffic also means slower Internet, and lower productivity. In comparison, cloud computing has allowed for easier and faster data transfers between employees, resulting in better time management, thus increasing efficiency. Significantly, cloud drives allow employees to access a file anytime from anywhere, making it much easier to work from home or while on business trips. In addition, cloud storage has eliminated the need for massive data transfers, saving significant amounts of funds for businesses.
Gone are the days of asking co-workers questions over the cubicles, or walking three floors up to the manager’s office to get a verbal memo. Enter Skype, which has made communication unbelievably easy and productive between employees. Skyping keeps offices less raucous, making it easier to concentrate on work. It increases productivity as employees don’t get dragged into unnecessary conversations or small talk at work. Posing questions by writing them down and texting reduces misunderstandings. Plus, there will always be a record to refer back to later. These are all wonderful benefits for any workplace. However, the biggest perk of Skype in the workplace is the ability for employees at different branches, local or international, to communicate instantly. Before, this was only possible by running up sky-high phone bills or sending very long and confounding emails. Skype also makes group conferences effortless, sometimes even between employees at different countries. Skype has allowed for immediate and affordable communication many managers thought impossible a decade ago.
The biggest impact of social media has been on marketing. Whether it’s a business, a non-profit, a charity or something else, all organizations can now advertise themselves free on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In the past, advertising and marketing focused on taking promotional messages to consumers. Now, the consumer can generate brand awareness by themselves, for themselves, with opinions shared on social media platforms. The workplace is no longer an obscure space hidden from the outside world of customers and competitors. Now employees are encouraged to share what they do publicly with people who are directly affected by that work. This has entirely shaken the traditional concepts of employer-employee-customer relations.
Web Collaboration Tools
Employees don’t have to waste time and ruin good professional relationships with group meetings that go nowhere. Online collaboration tools make it possible to carry out group projects with multiple people located all over the world. These tools make complex tasks simpler, less troublesome and more economical. No one can now complain about not having time for group meetings. On another hand, these have enabled companies to easily outsource work to freelancers and part-timers, thus cutting costs on paying full salaries, providing employee health care and paying taxes depending on the size of the workforce.
New technology is pushing us towards new ideas and wholly transformed lives. It’s true for personal lives, and now it’s true for professional lives. While tech can undoubtedly make workplaces more productive and efficient, whether they can bring the same benefits to overworked employees remain to be seen.