Almost all companies are now using technology to accomplish and carry out certain tasks. There is no doubt that technology definitely changed how people work. However, while technology has its own benefits, it is also associated with some drawbacks.
Take a look at the most common advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the workplace:
Common Advantages of Technology at Work
1. It facilitates mobility.
The use of computers and the internet for work has dissolved the boundaries of time and space, transcending the workplace and impacting diverse domains, including aviation, maritime navigation, tourism, and more. These technologies empower individuals to work remotely, enabling them to be productive anytime and anywhere.
Have you heard of digital nomads? Simply put, digital nomads are individuals who leverage today’s communication technologies to work and earn a living while away from home or any other permanent residence. While the concept of working on the road is often associated with digital nomads, these same technologies empower employees with permanent residences to have greater control over their work.
Various technological tools, such as virtual meeting apps, contribute to this mobility trend by saving time, which, as we all know, is valuable currency. There is no longer the need to be physically present in meetings, as data and information can be shared in real-time, eliminating the need for time-consuming travel between locations.
2. It encourages creativity and innovation.
Workers can use various business technologies to come up with innovative business ideas that can be used for expansion and further growth. Most companies also develop technological challenges and give rewards to employees who use technology to come up with creative ideas.
3. It improves communication.
A lot of businesses now use different business communication technologies in order to change how their employees communicate and interact while at work. The employees can use different tools for communication to exchange information or interact at work.
For instance, employees from the company’s different departments can use video conferencing tools such as Skype and text messaging services to exchange and share information. Virtual communication tools such as Skype can also be used for sharing screens and they help workers share projects even if they belong to different departments. Similar apps can also be used for supporting group decision making. Communication technologies can also be used in customer service departments for serving customers right on time.
4. It improves management of human resources.
Workplace technology can change how human resource managers carry out their job. This improves how new employees are screened, recruited, and hired. Most human resource managers use internet for advertising job openings.
Targeted candidates can apply for such positions online through submitting resumes to human resource managers. This process can also help save time and simplify the work of human resource managers.
Technology is also used for tracking the productivity and performance of employees at work. The productivity of employees increases when they know that they are monitored.
5. It saves time.
Thanks to technology, different tasks at work can be automated. This automation ensures efficiency and increases work production. Using computers to achieve certain tasks at work can create room to make corrections instantly and lessens human errors.
The use of databases to store and capture information can promote faster decision-making at work. It also allows employees to access business data through a single database. The information can then be saved and edited for use later on. Using internal networks at work helps share gadgets such as scanners and printers so that employees don’t have to move to several departments just to share the use of technological tools.
Common Disadvantages of Technology at Work
1. It affects relationships at work.
Employees communicate via smartphones, text messages, virtual video conferencing tools or email. This form of communication technology gets rid of face to face communication. It is important to have interpersonal communications when it comes to building relationships in the workplace since employees get the chance of knowing each other better in person.
There are even times when they share information that are not related to work. Communication technology tools can kill this type of interaction. Employees tend to become more self-centered and reserved. They become buried in work that might be harmful for the business in the long run.
2. It can lead to a lack of mentorship.
For digital nomads, it’s pretty clear that they don’t get ongoing, in-person mentorship. However, this can also happen even if you physically share a space with your mentor if most messages and inputs come from digital channels. It is easy for a mentor to put more workload on an employee if they are not there to see it through with him.
3. It can cause distractions at work.
There are a lot of ways for technology to distract employees in the workplace. Using social networks at work may result in distractions and affect the employees’ productivity. This is why some companies have decided blocking off access to certain websites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter since they divert attention. Other workplace technologies that can cause disturbances at work include computers, smartphones, and virtual meeting apps.
4. It poses risks.
Even though everyone likes the benefits that technology offers at work, it also has the tendency to be risky, specifically as far as data security is concerned. All employees whose positions are related to important decision making will require access to private business data. It can pose as threat since it can be hard to monitor the privacy and usage of this information.
5. It can encourage laziness.
Since technology automates most tasks, many employees can get lazy at work. You can say that technology can kill their skills and creativity. Simple tasks such as tracking inventory and calculating sales are now done with the help of computers. As a result, employees no longer put their brains into work. They also don’t solve less critical business problems since a software or a computer can do it in a jiffy.
Today’s technology won’t go away, and it’s all about finding balance when it comes to using it. Companies nowadays are more comfortable with a remote workforce such as digital nomads, but also expect their employees to put in some effort and not let technology come up with all of their solutions. The best option would be to leave the tedious and time-consuming tasks to computers, and then use technology to come to more creative and innovative solutions. If we look at it this way – balance is key and will make sure everybody wins!