The benefits and pitfalls of relying on technology in the workplace

With our feet firmly planted in the 21st century, workplaces without technological equipment are now few and far between. Technology has become integral in our daily lives, both for personal and corporate use. Many of today’s business roles have been adapted towards the use of technology, allowing for greater possibilities and making jobs without access to online facilities significantly more challenging. Undoubtedly, technology has its advantages and pitfalls in the workplace – but are these really acknowledged and addressed as much as they should be?

Communication

It’s no secret that good communication is integral in almost all aspects of business, and since the emergence of technology has influenced the corporate world, workplaces have seen both an improvement and a fall in communication levels. Collaborative technologies, such as visual conferencing software and instant messaging, allow employees to communicate even when they are physically far apart. Whilst this is incredibly useful for allowing the working day to keep running smoothly, online forms of communication have been known to reduce opportunities for interpersonal communication. This eliminates the use of body language and decreases listening skills.

Mobility

Employees are no longer confined to a single desk to complete their work. The emergence of mobile technologies, such as laptops and tablets, allow flexible working – whether that’s simply moving between rooms in the workplace for a shift in environment, or working completely off-site.

Collaborative working

New technologies, such as Slack, Evernote and Google Drive allow employees to work collaboratively on the same project; multiple users can edit a single document at one time, working on projects simultaneously. Many workplaces also use progress-tracking websites, such as Monday.com, to stay on top of projects and manage employees’ organisation.

Innovation and creativity

Access to wider resources means that employees can research in depth, gaining a more holistic approach to projects and applying newly acquired knowledge. This, over time, trains employees to think more creatively, ultimately contributing more innovative ideas to the business.

Maintenance costs

Despite all of the benefits that technological equipment can offer, they are, undoubtedly, expensive to run. Computers are used frequently in the workplace, therefore requiring regular maintenance checks by a professional. This is costly on its own – without even considering the initial cost of purchasing the equipment. However, for many businesses, the long-term benefits that such equipment provides more than likely makes this a worthwhile investment.

Distractions

Social media, although allowing users to keep in contact with friends and family, has proven to be a distraction in the workplace, with many employees resorting to their social media feeds during the working day. The accessibility of social media can be disastrous for those who struggle to stay focused, ultimately reducing productivity levels.

Data security risks

The breaching of confidential data is at a higher risk when it’s accessible to a wider number of employees – especially those who work off site. Computer hackers can steal sensitive data if it’s not protected by security software, so it’s essential that security checks are carried out on all devices used to access work documents.

Technology is becoming all-the-more integral in our daily lives as time goes by. Although there are risks that come with adopting technology in the workplace, as long as we are aware of these and take action to address them, we should learn to embrace technology and the positive contributions it can make to the overall performance of employees. If you’d like more advice on how to maximise the use of technology in your workplace, click here to speak to a member of our team.

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