Technology has transformed the workplace as we know it. Savvy businesses are adopting the latest tools and trends in order to improve business operations and attract new talent. As technology continues to improve and become more integrated into our daily lives, there are great advancements to come for the modern workplace. Here are a few ways the traditional office has changed for the better.
Business communications have seen possibly the most drastic improvement since the incorporation of smartphones, social networks and messaging applications. Utilizing these common tools communication has become instantaneous and more unified across departments and disciplines.
Email remains a prominent communication tool, and will likely continue to be for its own specific benefits. However, instant messaging apps such as Google Hangouts and Slack are increasingly replacing the use of email in situations where more immediate responses are required and when employees are away from their computers.
Video chat and video conferencing have contributed to more collaborative communications and reduced traveling costs. In fact, 75% of senior executives say their work travel has been reduced due to expanded video conferencing capabilities. By enabling team members to communicate face-to-face regardless of location, remote meetings can be more productive and create a greater sense of inclusion for all participants.
The modern workplace is all about collaboration. Younger generations joining the workforce expect office’s to have open environments that encourage cross departmental mingling and team collaboration. Technology has helped facilitate this collaborative culture allowing for more efficient communication and knowledge sharing.
Collaboration technology allows employees to connect and communicate as a team regardless of location. Through conferencing software, team members can engage in real-time communication and video conferences by sharing a unified screen. Should a team need to simultaneously work on a project, collaborative software also offers shareable digital whiteboards which allow users to add, edit and review information simultaneously. Choosing the right office furniture is key to enabling Collaborative working in your office while ensuring privacy through the right acoustic sound proofing solutions.
Coordination software is designed to promote teamwork through the coordination of schedules and tasks. E-calendars, employee time trackers and project management systems all help streamline project assignments and team assembly. Not only does this save managers’ time it provides transparency to what employees are working on in a given week and how much time is being spent on specific projects. This also creates a stronger understanding between employees and leaders allowing for more effective managing.
Business success stems from efficient productivity. New technology has enabled business leaders to streamline everyday tasks and processes for greater efficiency in employee production and performance.
Business productivity software enables leadership to better manage subordinates and employees to more effectively organize their daily responsibilities. When you consider the seemingly harmless tasks that employees are distracted by every day, wasted time begins to add up. In fact, a University of California, Irvine study found that is takes around 25 minutes to refocus after getting off track. Productivity technology helps reduce wasted time and enables employees to adjust their day for better prioritization and focus.
Project management tools: Managers can easily keep track of production and the status of ongoing assignments for each employee, reducing the need for meetings and continuous check-ins. Team members also have greater visibility into projects and can see who is responsible for what tasks.
Office suites: Productivity and collaboration go hand-in-hand, which is what makes office suite applications so effective. Spreadsheets, presentations and documents can all be shared and worked on simultaneously regardless of location.
Time Management: Good time management skills are essential to a productive workplace. Without them, deadlines can be missed and clients left unhappy. As modern tech tools have reduced the need for employees to complete tedious tasks, more time can be spent on more creative and impactful responsibilities.
Automation has been the buzzword in business technology over the past few years for the benefits it provides marketing teams and others. By automating tasks that traditionally would require human intervention, marketers are free to spend their time on more valuable priorities.
Modern businesses recognize the need for maintaining some form of a social media presence. However without a designated social media team this can cause a strain in workload distribution and disjointed brand voice. Fortunately, social media automation tools are simplifying these tasks. By automating posting and sharing content, teams can manage a successful social media presence with minimal effort.
Buffer: Designed to help you save time and maintain an active feed, Buffer lets you schedule and publish upcoming posts across all of your accounts. Once a post is published you can also keep track of engagement stats such as clicks, likes and shares.
Social Pilot: Unique and entertaining content creation is one of the more difficult parts of managing social media profiles. Social Pilot helps by suggesting content ideas based on categories your followers are interested in.
BuzzSumo: Ideal for content marketers, BuzzSumo assists in finding trending topics with the option to filter those topics based on your location or preferences. It can also help you find influencers best suited for sharing your messages.
But over the next 20 years, we will see automation move to a completely different level. Fears abound whether a time will come where humans will make themselves redundant. The early seeds are already being sewn which could lead to digital humans replacing call centre operators and revolutionise the way companies deal with high volume calls.
 Remote working
Technology has allowed for the construction of an entirely new subset of the modern workforce, known as remote work. The aforementioned communication, collaboration and management tools have made it possible for entire companies to not be tied down to a single location. As the various benefits of remote work become more apparent, more competitive organizations are adopting this policy to attract new talent. In response, new technologies are constantly being developed to better support the remote workforce.
Considering remote teams don’t have the luxury of in-person meetings with coworkers, it’s important for managers to utilize available tools to keep remote workers engaged. Tools such as Glint help companies measure employee engagement on an ongoing basis. By identifying opportunities, predicting risk and recommending when to take action to prevent engagement and job satisfaction issues, managers can more effectively guide remote employees.
It’s important to hold remote workers accountable for their responsibilities. Managers can’t necessarily see these employees on a daily basis so performance management tools are an ideal solution. Prompting employees to report on what they work on each day as well as a roundup of their week each Friday, keeps everyone in the loop and cuts down on check-ins for managers to organize.
 The GEN Z Workplace
Younger generations have grown up surrounded by this technology and therefore expect it to be a part of their work environments. In fact, 80% of millennials view workplace tech as a deciding factor for taking a job. In response, businesses are overhauling their office spaces to meet the demands of the modern world and improve the employees experiences.
As remote employment rises, so does the need for more interactive meeting technology. Virtual reality (VR) allows for team members to communicate and work together on projects regardless of location. VR technology also provides the opportunity for new employees to experience more engaging training programs. Utilizing VR headsets, employees can experience real-world workplace scenarios to better learn how to handle these situations and gain confidence before starting out on their own.
Improving convenience and employee well being are just a couple of the benefits contributing to the growing number of businesses integrating smart technology into their workspace. Meeting rooms are evolving to better suit remote workers, and allow for more engaging and productive collaboration. Smart boards with interactive displays, allow meeting attendants to edit or add to a projected screen via their smartphone which in turn can improve engagement and participation.
As we become increasingly aware of potential risks associated with long periods of sitting, companies are adopting ergonomic 'smart seating' solutions to improve office culture and employee wellbeing. Height adjustable smart desks can adjust to suit employees who want to stand and prompt employees to get up after a few hours of sitting. More advanced smart desks can include voice-activated personal assistants and the ability to synch up with accompanying smart technologies to control lights and heating, all while reminding you of what's coming up on your calendar.
Keeping up with modern technology has become a necessity for successful businesses to connect with customers and attract top candidates. Moving forward we can expect technology to further integrate into business and contribute to more advanced processes overall.
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Author Bio: Maddie Davis is co-founder of Enlightened Digital and a tech-obsessed female from the Big Apple. She lives by building and redesigning websites, running marathons and reading anything and everything on the NYT Best Sellers list.