Technological Connectedness in the Workplace
“The potential future of the workforce is marked by corporations streamlining their approach on almost everything, from data storage solutions to communication platforms.” - HR Dive, a leading publication operated by Industry Dive
In the last decade, there has been a dramatic shift in how we work. With new tools available and a shift in culture, technology has connected the workforce. Teams have become more collaborative and are able to work and access work data from anywhere...
The impact of technology
Geographic barriers no longer decide where someone can work. In some cases, being at work is as simple calling in and can result in improved productivity. A report by TINYpulse, “What Leaders Need to Know About Remote Workers”, challenges the assumption that remote workers are less productive or lazy. The report notes that 91% of workers surveyed believe they get more work done via virtual work than they would in an office setting.
Creating a culture beyond the office
Video technology - such as WebEx and GoToMeeting - has allowed remote workers to feel like part of the action, especially when it comes to meetings. Michael Fenlon, Global and U.S. Talent Leader at PwC, states that “video really does make a difference. We can see each other, see expressions. I think, at a deep level, humans are attuned to engaging at that level.”
Nonetheless, culture is found in the small, day-to-day interactions. As a result, a staff member working remotely may miss the camaraderie that forms during unpredictable moments throughout the day. This is where a group chat comes in...
Chat tools - like Slack and HipChat - enable constant conversation in a casual format that is generally more accessible than email. In addition, remote workers can be part of the chat while feeling like part of the team. Dora Wang, Employee Engagement Researcher for TINYpulse, says that “the chatroom has a better ability to mimic that watercooler feel. The back and forth is there”. In some cases, organizations have considered eliminating email in favour of real-time messaging platforms.
Chief Marketing Officer at Lever, Leela Srinivasan, says “you can feel the workplace becoming more human because technology is enabling a different kind of connection among its employees.”
What the future looks like
Harvard Business School and the Boston Consulting Group took a survey of 11,000 workers and 6,500 business leaders. Here, they found that the majority of survey respondents said that “among the new developments most urgently affecting their businesses were employees’ expectations for flexible, autonomous work; better work-life balance; and remote working.”
Although a transformational concept, technology is a big reason for the change. It has enabled people to be more productive, efficient and innovative while staying connected internally and externally. Organizations that strike the right balance and leverage the right technology will engage and retain the top talent.