Four Technology Trends Transforming the Workplace
When was the last time you saw a phone with a rotary dial? How about an electric typewriter? Or a PDA?
Chances are, the last time you saw any of these was at least 15 years ago. If you’re a Millennial, you might never have seen them at all outside of the movies.
At one time, all three of these devices were used every day by professionals – but with the advent of the cell phone, computer and Blackberry, they quickly and quietly disappeared. Why? Because the new inventions were far more efficient and far less time consuming.
Since the mid-1990s, the speed at which new technologies are developed and adopted into society has continued to increase. Many of these new developments make their way into the workplace because they streamline processes, improve communication and foster collaboration. Think of laptops with WiFi and cloud computing, a combination that allows employees to work from anywhere. Or Skype, which makes it possible to have real-time meetings, no matter where the respective parties are located.
Let’s take a closer look at four of the technology trends transforming the workplace today.
- The pre-taped video job interview. In her SmartRecruiters blog post titled “Job Interviews 2.0: Embrace the Revolution of Video Interviews,” Gillian Doyle points out that hiring managers spend as much as 4.5 hours on just scheduling job interviews—and that doesn’t even include the interviews themselves! That’s why a number of platforms are offering apps that allow job applicants to pre-tape interviews based on a number of questions provided by the potential employer. Once the video is uploaded, the hiring manager can review it at his or her convenience.
- Gamification. An increasing number of companies are using gamification techniques to train their employees, as well as enhance their performance and keep them engaged. Think of systems that offer points, rewards and badges for high performance. For example, contact centre employees can earn points for every case they handle successfully. At the end of the week or the month, those points can be traded for some kind of tangible reward such as a cash bonus, tickets to an event or discounts at a store.
- Wearables. A growing number of employers are looking to enhance employee fitness, leading to an increased interest in wearable fitness trackers. There’s also a call for wearables as a tool to increase business efficiency. In her Bloomberg Technology article titled “Wearable Technology Creeps Into the Workplace,” Olivia Solon describes how one Swedish company uses microchips implanted under employees’ skin. These microchips allow employees to swipe into the workplace, operate the alarm system, access the company gym, and so on. However, privacy concerns are likely to slow down the adoption of this technology in North America.
- The IoT and smart machines. If you haven’t yet heard of the Internet of Things (IoT), you will soon. The IoT refers to the network of smart machines (devices that are outfitted with sensors and communication capabilities and can perform a number of tasks autonomously) that collect and send data via the Internet. This system has a number of functions, including the automated monitoring of supplies and the gathering of data for a variety of purposes. This new form of automation is likely to reduce the number of employees needed for monitoring purposes while increasing the demand for professionals who can oversee entire systems or parts of systems.
As an employee, it’s important that you understand what kind of technology your employer could introduce and what the impact will be on your job. By knowing ahead of time what your employer hopes to gain—cost savings, increased efficiency, etc.—you’ll be in a better position to embrace new technology and use it to your advantage.