Technology has changed many aspects of our lives.
From smartphones to smartwatches, technological advancements have made everyday activities easier, faster and better.
And some of the biggest technological changes have taken place in the workplace.
Not that long ago office workers were typically tied to one location, where they would stay for hour after hour.
Now, the rise of portable technology, combined with WiFi, means that employees have been untethered from the traditional desk. They can work from anywhere in the building.
In fact, they may change where they work from at regular intervals throughout the working day. For example, if they find they are being regularly distracted they can simply get up and work from somewhere else a bit quieter. If they feel they need some inspiration, they can head towards a more social part of the office.
This makes the worker more efficient because technology has empowered them to choose workspaces where they can work to the best of their ability.
Of course, you now don’t even have to set foot in the office at all. Employees now not only have the technology to work from home, but also from the train, airplanes and overseas. Almost anywhere can become an office for the day, cutting down on the amount of company time that isn’t used productively.
Collaboration used to mean everyone cramming into a meeting room or huddling around a speakerphone. And when employees had to travel large distances to attend those meetings, or battle to be heard over speakerphone, they could prove a considerable drain on time.
Now you can visually connect with just about anyone in the world at the click of a button through video conferences that also allow people to view the same presentation material at the same time.
Distances have become irrelevant.
Collaboration, and in turn efficiency, is also improved by the rise of team messaging apps which mean meetings can almost happen constantly and the dialogue never really ends.
Such has been the success of these tools that some organisations are slowly moving away from email. Where email remains prevalent, there are at least fewer confusing email chains and inboxes can be kept relatively clutter free.
Another advancement which is improving efficiency is that some employees are no longer tied down to company provided hardware. A ‘bring-your-own-device’ policy enables workers to use their own computers, phones and tablets for work.
While security concerns remain about this approach, research has shown employees are often more productive using their own devices and are more successful at troubleshooting them.
Companies are also finding that technology can put an end to some of the daily practices which take up large sections of time, but offer no value to the organisation.
Expense management technology, for example, means employers no longer have to submit paper forms or Excel spreadsheets, which can eat into the working day. By eliminating timewasters, technology enables employees to focus more of their time on the issues that matter and that enhances their organisation.
Technology advancements in the workplace are likely to continue at pace. While that may feel daunting for some, it is hard to argue against the recent improvements it has made to working lives.