With larger and larger number of people using the internet every single day, we can no longer deny the role of technology not just in our social lives, but also our work lives. As of April 2019, there are more than 3.5 billion unique users on the internet, and projections show that global mobile data traffic will increase nearly sevenfold between the year 2017 and 2022.
According to a Nielsen report, smartphones users generate over 1.2 million terabytes of data annually. For the majority of Gen Y employees, smartphones and tablets are the preferred devices for media consumption.
These days technological advancements are happening at such a fast pace that it seems like there is a new technology that is coming up every single day. It is a fact that technology in the 21st century is truly changing the way we work – employees are no longer chained to their desks, sitting in front of gigantic box-shaped computers. There are some unquestionable advantages that businesses gain when technology plays such a prominent role, but it also comes with its own unique disadvantages.
What we need to ask ourselves is whether the advantages of technology outweigh the disadvantages or is it the other way round. Nevertheless, finding ways to integrate technology in the workplace is crucial to keep up with emerging trends and a marketplace which is more diversified and competitive than ever.
- Benefits of Technology in the Workplace:
Technology has opened up a world of novel possibilities that no one could have imagined.
1) Communication – The wide array of virtual communication tools that exist today allow employees to communicate in several ways that were previously impossible. For instance, if an employee in America wants to contact his boss, who is in Germany, he does not even need to leave his chair.
Technology has made communication with even someone who is in another country unbelievably convenient. With the help of such tools can increase efficiency and productivity within the workplace. The use of new and more innovative mediums in fields such as advertising has also made communication with customers more comfortable.
2) Efficiency – Since a lot of the work that was previously done by people can now be done by machines. Hence, the workload of every individual reduces and lifts off a lot of pressure from their minds.
Additionally, computers can also do some of the work that we do with more precision and accuracy. With software that checks for grammar and spelling mistake, technology has made the job of writers very easy, and in a lot of professions, it allows employees to work without even going to the office.
3) Flexibility – Technology also increases the flexibility of employees. For instance, if an organization makes all their content available across different platforms, employees can bring any device of their choices such as a smartphone, tablet or a laptop.
Allowing them to engage in more collaborative work and reduce the amount of time that they spend on each task. Introducing technology into the workplace also encourages the idea of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).
There are also a few disadvantages to allowing technology to play such a prominent role in the changing environment of the workplace.
- Disadvantages of Technology in the Workplace:
1) The constant need for upgrades – Since technology changes every day, the software and programs that companies use, become outdated and need updates for it to function efficiently.
While upgrading the software can be as simple as downloading the latest version, it still needs to be done regularly, and the system is not operable when it is under upgrade. This task can often be time-consuming and expensive.
2) Dependency – Due to the high dependence of organizations on computer systems, even a technical glitch or a system crash can cause the business to come to a standstill until it is resolved.
Sometimes a company decides to start using new technology. When this happens, there is a learning curve that the employees must go through, which can result in loss of productivity. The growing dependency of employees on social media can also affect their productivity and efficiency at work.
3) Workplace Relationships – With the increasing use of technology tools for communication in the workplace, studies have shown that this shift in the mediums used for communication has negatively impacted the relationship between employees.
The use of digital means such as phones, messages, email or video has drastically decreased the amount of face-to-face communication in the workplace. Employees must have a good relationship with each other to enhance productivity and establish a functional workplace. Interpersonal relationships are the foundation of any successful organization.
The increasing presence of technology in the workplace is inevitable, and no organization that wants to be successful can steer themselves away from this change. On the bright side, the advantages of technology far outweigh the disadvantages.
Hence, we must take advantage of the various technologies that are available to us and use it to design a collaborative workplace. But we must keep asking ourselves the question of whether the advantages of technology outweigh the disadvantages. Because even if that is true today with ever-changing technologies may not be true tomorrow.