The influence of technology and process automation in the workspace
The way we work, our workspace culture has remained conventional for decades now. The routine kicks off with a morning 7am alarm, then a 9am train and another train back at 6pm. And the time in between? Caught up sitting on our desks, giving presentations, attending meetings, or visiting clients. Is it not so? But now, we all can fairly assume that the Covid-19 pandemic has enthralled the corporate world to completely re-manufacture the workspace culture. It all now relies on computer technology enabled through the internet. If we ponder, most employees have never stepped into office for over 400 days, and all Friday evening socials have been totally done with. No more wine at the bar near the office after a bad day.
A reflection of the past
Technology has rapidly unfolded over the past years, and has become an indispensable part of our lifestyles. There was a time when personal computers were a luxury, technology has come a long way making it a need more than the want. From going to the cyber cafés to gather Information for my high school projects, to now sitting back and working at our comforts, we have indeed travelled a long way. Thinking about the evolving technology, I still remember those days when I used to go to my father’s office after my school hours. That constant ringing of the wired telephones, that nostalgic pen and paper and then most importantly, those big bulky manual books of transactions. If there was a record to be verified or made in duplicate, people had to dig through massive piles of hard files and folders, just to locate one transaction. Yet, there was no guarantee that it would be found.
With technology being more commercialized, and made available to the masses, working at an office has redefined itself. Work is being done astronomically faster, records are being entered and found at supersonic speeds, and time is now redirected to more important tasks. The workplace innovations over the past decade have all been monumental as of now, yet, there still is a scope for further exponential innovation.
The current workplace in the Covid-19 era
The pandemic has forced the entire planet to adapt to the tech infrastructure, and fight for survival. The advancements, technological and otherwise, left unexplored, are now called upon to synergize the workplace demand.
But we need to understand an important dilemma faced by the diversified organizations. The technological advancements I am talking about can have multiple outlooks, viz, smarter work, boosting efficiency, effectiveness, and financial growth, or even barely survival, in these times. At an institutional level, resources which earlier were being invested primarily on expanding the business, are now being redirected towards barely sustaining the business.
There is also a mixed psychology in the way I classify the gainers and losers during such circumstances. People who could afford technology adaptation, even at the bare minimum level, have managed to sustain. With companies taking over a virtual work platform, hundreds of thousands of corporate staff working from home throughout, it has given rise to new business models. Companies are now offering 100% remote work opportunities to its employees which is a win-win for both the entities, company and employee alike. If we consider the work-from-home from a long-term purview, companies would benefit in operational costs resulting in higher net incomes. On the other hand, employees will take fewer days off, will be close to their family, receive the same remuneration as before, and yes end up saving more by eliminating the movement of swiping attendance at office, among other factors.
Question is, how have all these tech adaptations, cost savings, or survival made possible? Well, its owed to the dawn of accessible, economical, learnable technology using the multiple Saas or Software as a Service offerings. There is now an “online version” of almost everything we need.
Moving ahead from the traditional video conferences, tons of field jobs, and the need to see colleagues, now, one just needs a computer with an internet connection, and it’s an office or rather, ‘virtual office’. Employees can call upon clients without having to fly over, give presentations sitting at their desks, and improve productivity. Not only this, children are learning to use technology from an early age, and the technologically jargoned people have been forced to adapt to current trends, for good. The pandemic situation has indeed given a new perspective to life, at office and in general.
The future forward
The future still holds a massive pool of unexplored workplace advancements, which were only paused by the pandemic. The situation forced technology adaptation at a lateral level, but there have been talks about an advanced 4.0 workplace innovation, yet to be brought into workplaces. These include, gamification of work processes, automation of redundant tasks, smart employee performance guides, motivation monitoring, and Artificial Intelligence to match customer needs better. Most importantly, all while not overlooking the human factor, the sense of ‘being and belonging’, which has now been largely stripped off in our virtual office model.
With everything getting automated, the low skilled earners might lose their jobs resulting in an increase in an everlasting gap between the rich and the poor, especially in developing countries, where overpopulation and low literacy rate is the root of all the problems. Therefore, it is very important to promote advanced education for optimum utilization of resources.
My final opinion on technology as a vision into the future of workplaces will be, ‘The vast potential of the technology domain has not yet been fully harnessed. It is an ever-evolving concept, which will enable unprecedented advancements into the regular life cycle of a professional at an office.”
In the 21st century, I believe there is a lot more to just ‘being on the internet’ or using ‘data for decisions’.
I hope my perspective helped your thoughts on this topic. Please feel free to leave your comments or buzz me up for further discussions.