Workplaces are impacted by a wide variety of factors, including changing ideologies and other external influences, both negative and positive. Technology is likely one of the greatest factors impacting workplaces, and it is also one factor that can have a truly positive impact.
According to Gallup’s State of the American Workforce report, engaged teams show 21 percent more profitability, and yet only 51 percent of individuals actually feel engaged at work. Considering this, it’s beneficial to employers and employees alike to consider the following four technological workplace trends.
1. The workplace is getting safer for everyone.
If an employee feels unsafe in their environment, complete productivity and satisfaction are unlikely. Fifty-nine percent of employees who observed some form of misconduct said that they were actively searching for a new place to work, meaning that employee retention depends largely on how well misconduct is managed.
#NotMe, by example, is an HR platform advocating for employees who have witnessed and experienced misconduct while also arming employers with solutions. Through its AI-powered platform and mobile app, it streamlines the reporting process, empowering employees to quickly report on the job harassment or discrimination. Employers can then use these reports to create a safer, healthier work environment for their employees.
Founder Ariel Weindling explained, “America’s work culture is in need of a major paradigm shift. Companies and employees need to work together to take decisive action to both address and prevent incidents of harassment, discrimination and bullying. For that to happen, employees and employers need modern digital tools that enable them to communicate easily around very complex issues. When we see incidents of workplace misconduct decline, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”
2. Collaboration is easier than ever before.
Digital technology continuously impacts collaboration, transforming how work is completed and how employees engage with one another. Without the use of digital tools, collaboration is left largely to chance and proximity. Because of evolving technology, collaboration is not reduced to a common space or even geographical area.
Tools such as Slack and Google Docs have made it easy for employees to communicate and work cohesively regardless of physical location. Collaborative techniques within the workplace can boost productivity by 20 to 30 percent, according to McKinsey. While working together can be more difficult due to the increasingly remote nature of work, it’s vital to a company's success. Technology can help organizations achieve continuity.
3. Improved work-life balance is possible.
A study by Ernst & Young discovered that 76 percent of employees have a difficult time balancing their work, family and personal obligations. As a result, workplace flexibility is high on the list of employee priorities. While allowing employees to at least partially build their own schedules is beneficial to them, it’s also better for employers. A report called The State of Flexible Work Arrangements found that 78 percent of employees said flexible work arrangements made them more productive.
Because of technology, flexibility is possible without sacrificing workplace organization or cohesion. Programs such as Slack and Trello make it easy for companies to communicate and designate tasks. There’s also Workplace by Facebook, which enables users to quickly chat or hold video calls.
If employees can have greater control over their own schedules, then demographics often excluded from the workforce (those charged with childcare, for example) can still have access. Employees will find greater satisfaction in their work, and employers will see an improved workplace culture.
4. Technology boosts efforts to support diversity and inclusion.
Diversity and inclusion create a positive work environment by encouraging new ideas to flourish. Different backgrounds and experiences will inevitably lead to a multitalented team with members who can make unique contributions. It’s not enough just to have diversity though, all members of a team must feel heard and included in order for it to lead to cohesion and productivity.
Todd L. Pittinsky, a professor of technology and society at Stony Brook University, recently noted in the Harvard Business Review that “the more the members of an organically diverse society enjoy that diversity and see the visible benefits of investing in shared prosperity and the common good, the more secure and resilient that society will be.”
The same can be said for the workplace, and technology can help. CEO Action’s Check Your Blind Spots Unconscious Bias Bus Tour uses VR technology to show users how they are unconsciously biased, training them to gain awareness and challenge those biases they may not know they have.
While individuals in the workforce often fear that technology will lead to automation-based job loss or workplace surveillance, there are an entire host of ways that technological advancements are changing workplaces to reflect the improved quality of life.
As an employer, you will undoubtedly see your workplace shaken by advances in technology. You can choose to use these developments to the benefit of your employees, improving their work and personal lives in the process. As a result, you will likely see greater employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.
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