The Rise of Technology in the Workplace
The age of the paper-based office may not have passed, but it’s certainly on the way out. Technology in the workplace — especially digital technology, has transformed how businesses operate. Thanks to advances in tech it’s now possible to recruit job candidates at a global level, communicate instantly with employees in the field, and manage projects from conception to completion in real-time. Why technology in the workplace has caused such a paradigm shift can be explained with two words: mobile devices.
Digital Technology in the Workplace: Smartphones and Tablets
Not so many years ago, employees communicated and performed their tasks through company-owned computers and laptops. A few trusted employees might be permitted to take a laptop home, and even fewer allowed to work from home on a regular basis.
With the advent of smartphones and tablets, technology in the workplace changed forever. At first, companies were hesitant to allow employee-owned devices access to the data protected behind their corporate firewalls. Eventually, however, it became obvious that smartphones and mobile computing offered too many advantages to ignore. Advantages which included:
Mobile devices make it easier for businesses to communicate, both internally and with their customers. Email, while still a useful tool, is increasingly replaced by texts. VoIP services such as Skype and Whatsapp allow easy access to video conferencing, connecting employees in distant locations to the office.
With no need for employees to be in the office for communication, telecommuting became a real possibility. Instant communication also meant companies were no longer limited to hiring locally: a company could now operate in the USA, have administration employees in Thailand, and their accounting services in Denmark.
Mobile computing apps and project management software provide tools employees can use to overcome challenges and track project progression. Such apps allow the assignment of specific tasks to individuals, fostering a culture of accountability while providing managers opportunities for real-time feedback and coaching.
Such digital technology in the workplace improves collaboration not only within departments but in the company as a whole. By making project management transparent, different departments can understand each other’s projects and identify areas where interdepartmental projects would have the most impact.
The role of mobile devices in customer connectivity cannot be understated. Customers use their smartphones to find store locations, compare prices, and seek customer support. They expect a business to have a social media presence, and judge brands based on their social media posts.
Such connectivity will only become more important as 5G networks become available. With 5G networks, businesses will be able to virtually guide customers directly to products within the store, indicate when out-of-stock goods will come available, and even allow customers to try on clothing using virtual avatars. Within the workplace, 5G will allow businesses to analyze real-time data using the Internet of things devices, track inventory from the manufacturer to customers, and even record data on product use after-sales.
Business Technology and Small Businesses
While all businesses can benefit from technology in the workplace, it’s often the small to medium businesses that see the most impact. Digital technology helps small businesses make the most use of employees’ time. Mundane, repetitive tasks can be automated, freeing up time to focus on mission-critical goals. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, small business websites can use virtual customer service representatives to answer questions and concerns.
A robust, feature-filled mobile business plan greatly increases how well your business uses technology in the workplace. Contact GoWireless today to see how we can meet your business needs.