December 21, 2019 How Technology is Changing the Way We Work

By Tom Wilde

 How technology is changing the way we work is proven by technology’s track record throughout history, from the industrial age all the way through to today’s workplace. Technology automates repetitive, often tedious tasks, reduces waste, increases productivity, gets you to work faster and makes working from any location possible.  

Here are more ways that technology has changed the way we work today.

Smart Communication for Optimal Collaboration

With the entrance of smartphones, social media, video and conferencing apps into the workplace, the way we communicate has radically changed. Instant, mobile, fast, it is easier than ever for managers, subordinates, and team members to communicate with each other. Collaboration is supported through apps such as WhatsApp, GoTo Meeting, Microsoft Teams, and MyMeetings, unifying teams whether they are in the office or spread out across the globe.

More Clarity and Control

Technology enables a business to organise themselves fully. Project Management Software allows project managers to build, delegate, review, and assess a task, all in one system. This means that team members and managers can manage their work activities to ensure projects remain on track, with red flags alerting them to overdue tasks that might otherwise have derailed the project. Technology gives transparency into peoples’ responsibility, accountability, efficiency and timed delivery of tasks, it also increases their workflow and productivity. Ultimately, Project Management Software supports the continued improvement of the quality and quantity of work.

Increased Productivity and Profit in Business Operations

Business technology and systems give managers insight into every aspect of their team’s productivity. This removes bottlenecks, highlights non-productive employees, and can allow for the reward and recognition of outstanding performers, reducing staff turnover. Technology promotes effective time management in teams, and also reduces and in some cases, altogether removes labour-intensive admin roles through automation. Accounting technology and ERP software produce business reports accurately and in an instant, where it may have taken days to do manually. Meaning that back-office roles have been reduced, and staff members who use to be responsible for these duties can be better utilised elsewhere in the business, improving the bottom line while simultaneously reducing waste.

Safe and Secure

In our highly connected world, technology plays a pivotal role in keeping businesses and data safe. A business can be brought to its knees by malware and security breaches. According to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, the NotPetya ransomware worm caused over $10 billion in damages in 2017 alone. The virus locked users out of their data files, with the message, “Oops, your important data files are encrypted”, with instructions to pay $300 in bitcoin to release the files. End-to-end hardware and software-based data encryption allow only authorised people to access data. Fingerprint and facial recognition technology add another layer of security against product and data theft, as well as the ability to monitor online communication and activities to safeguard the business against potential illegal activities.

Customised Business Options

Whether the business is small to medium-sized or enterprise-level, each workplace has its own way of doing things to reach their business objectives. So, when off-the-shelf software doesn’t cut it, technology allows businesses to customise business software to match their needs perfectly.

Empowered Remote Employees

With the influx of Gen Z talent in the workplace, the shape of the workforce is dramatically changing. More interested in feeling fulfilled at work and contributing to something meaningful, the standard 8-to-5 office-anchored workplace is not attractive enough anymore, and employees are finding ways to keep the highly skilled newcomers happy. One successful way is through allowing for remote working. With mobile and cloud technology, instant and remote access mean interconnected workplaces are becoming more apparent, with the added benefit of greater productivity and staff engagement.

What is disruptive technology?

Clayton Christensen first popularised the term “disruptive technologies” in The Innovator's Dilemma, published in 1997; a solution that is an entirely new approach to an often overlooked consumer’s problem, is better than what the established competitors are providing, typically comes in at a lower price, and that is met with mass adoption.

The Potential of Disruptive Technology

Established companies who wish to innovate can identify the potential of disruptive technology in their operations and focus including new markets in their business operations. Organisations that turn a blind eye to the effects of disruptive technology could lose market share to more risk-taking competitors who choose to adopt technology, such as blockchain, to remain competitive. Blockchain is a decentralised distributed ledger that records transactions between two parties and is now not only being used in fintech, but because of its stability and security, is also being adopted by industries such as supply chain, real estate, education, and voting, to name a few. Investing in startups that are creating these disruptive technologies or even in early adopters of these technologies, is high risk as many of these products take years to be adopted by the masses. With little to no guarantee that it will be adopted at all. Investors can safely invest in a variety of disruptive technologies spanning areas like the Internet of things, cloud computing, fintech, robotics, and artificial intelligence through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) like the ALPS Disruptive Technologies ETF (DTEC). Regardless of whether the technology in question is disruptive or mainstream, the fact remains that technology has fundamentally changed the way we work, and will continue to do so as organisations strive to develop solutions through technology. We will certainly be seeing more and more examples of how technology is changing the way we work in time to come.