The Industrial Revolution may have been a watershed moment for manufacturing. But it is the technology boom of the past decade that has revolutionized labor in the workplace. Technology has become omnipresent in our society. It has changed the way we work, play, and live.
Yet, not many will recall the transition from pagers to smartphones due to how rapid the progress has been and how quickly technology in workplaces has gained ground.
The past couple of years have further boosted the importance of working more efficiently and using digital tools to achieve more. Due to restrictions on working from home, organizations were able to see the value of something as simple as saving commute time in increasing employee productivity. In addition, communication blossomed in many work areas when employees could use tools designed to help them connect better.
However, physical distance from your colleagues also means an added impetus for organizations to continue trying and testing new working methods. So it’s imperative to start by asking, how has technology elevated workplace performance
so that organizations can build on their existing frameworks?
Optimizing through Automation
The use of automation can improve workplace productivity for big and small HR teams. Automation has optimized productivity and performance in a way few things have been done before. Automation technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has made it possible to do more with fewer people and allowed organizations to redirect their resources.
“We believe in people and technology working together—not displacing one another.”
- Arran Stewart, Co-Founder, and CVO
For HR professionals, it has eased much of the workload. Functions like hiring, interviews, and performance reviews are being optimized. Gone are the days when HR was all about paperwork and documentation. One of the most direct benefits of automation
is how AI automates routine and repetitive tasks, freeing up HR teams for more strategic work. It will continue to change the future of work while improving productivity and performance.
The Ability to Multitask
Not all job descriptions mention this, but multitasking is one of the handiest skills in every employee's kit. Although focusing on one task at a time is probably good to ensure quality outcomes, a little bit of multitasking may help productivity. With new performance management tools flooding the market, getting more things done on the to-do list has become easier. Not only do these tools provide timely reminders, but you can also stack tasks, track every step in the process and get the ball rolling on anything faster.
Applications like Slack, Asana, and Trello have made billions by helping people sort out their to-do lists in the workplace.
Many of today's performance management software applications also function as communication channels. When you have a physically scattered team, it is a job for technology to reduce collaboration bottlenecks.
You can use one platform or integrate multiple tools on one project management platform to encourage better cooperation and coordination between teams. Recently, Microsoft launched Viva, a new platform within Microsoft Team to make remote work easier for organizations as a whole. Microsoft intends to simulate the workplace digitally with Viva. In addition, many more tools are being unveiled with the sole purpose of helping employees adapt to the hybrid way of work, enrich their work lives, and improve work performance.
Open communication channels between employees, teammates, managers, and even departments have always been necessary. However, it isn’t just a must-have in a remote work environment and is especially important to aid creativity and collective learning.
New technologies help integrate different modes of communication like text, voice, video, and even file sharing to streamline collaboration. As a result, employees can no longer tap their colleagues' shoulders to communicate. Instead, organizations must provide all workers with a sense of proximity that encourages general communication, knowledge sharing, and brainstorming.
Widget.io used Organizational Network Analytics (ONA) to configure the organization’s formal and informal communication networks. As a result, it revealed that the collaboration between teammates had increased during the pandemic, with higher connections and follow-ups being sent every day. In addition, technology has made it possible to leverage a remote working environment to better collaborate.
Redefining Remote Learning
Every forward-looking organization knows that encouraging ongoing learning and development is key to remaining viable. When employees were relegated to working from home, much of the learning also needed to be done remotely.
Employees could no longer shadow each other or ask and receive answers while on the job. Instead, employees do much of the communication online. In addition, training programs had to adapt to equip employees in the shortest time frames to do more than ever before. Reskilling and upskilling became a significant focus, and organizations had to find new ways to deploy the full force of technology to achieve their L&D goals.
Working Smarter, not Harder
Technology has been an essential cornerstone of the workplace for a long time. It’s been working with us from the very beginning. With the boom in technology, work is no longer just about getting things done but doing them in a way that bolsters efficiency and productivity. As a result, employees can be more flexible. With a self-defined schedule, work-life balance has received a shot in the arm while creating more engagement and well-being.
With advancements in software and hardware, employers are changing how they hire employees and creating more flexible work schedules to accommodate everyone's needs. But there's much more to be done before employers can work smarter, not harder.
For starters, organizations should modernize their existing processes with new technology. For example, digitizing records, computerizing accounts, and converting to a centralized system will help bring employees on the same page no matter where they are.
Conclusion: The Role of Tech in Keeping Workplace Performance Optimum
As new technologies are developed and deployed, one can't help but wonder what the future holds for the workplace. It is constantly changing for the better with the introduction of each new tool. Technology has changed how people work, how much time they spend doing things and how resources are being refocused.
There is no doubt that technology has been a catalyst in bringing flexibility to the workplace. Without today’s remote-ready tools, working during the pandemic would have been a very different picture. It has connected people and fostered a working environment as effective as working in an office, if not more. Organizations must now identify ways to optimize technology to promote better work quality and productivity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is technology important in the workplace?
Technology can improve the workflow by fostering better processes, organization, and communication. These can have a positive impact on the productivity and efficiency of employees. When employees can collaborate well, they can do their jobs faster.
What are some of the disadvantages of technology in the workplace?
Adopting performance management software can be expensive upfront. Employees will need to be trained in adopting it, and it can be time-consuming to maintain. In addition, if not done correctly, new tools could create distractions and unexpected complexities.
Why is it essential to keep up with new technologies in the workplace?
Keeping up with new technologies in the workplace is essential because it can help a company stay competitive. New technologies can also bring about new opportunities for employees.