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How technology will revolutionize the workplace

Cut to 60 years ago, computers were clunky and barely functional. Phones required direct lines in order call out. Instant coffee hadn’t been invented yet. Workplaces required all their employees to be physically at their desks since that was the only way they could access the company files.

Cut to today, computers are thinner than wafers, phones can work from almost anywhere on the surface of Earth (and even in orbit for those on the ISS) and cloud storage has become our favourite thing since sliced bread.With the correct infrastructure in place, companies can make it easier than ever for their employees to work from home.

But upgrades are expensive, is it worth it?

We’ll take Plantronics (the right hand if headset manufacturing in the UK) as our example. Plantronics switched to a flexible working environment after laying down the required infrastructure and now they’d never go back. Employee satisfaction rose from 61% to 85% in only 6 months. How the company kept track of it’s accounts became far more efficient due to the better computing power.

Okay, so I’ve bought the technology. What can I do with it?

Let’s say you’ve sent an employee off to a conference or away to deal with business out of the country, but you need to hold a crucial meeting that requires them. Usually you’d have to deal with a disembodied voice that may or may not cut out intermittently. With the correct tech, you can set up virtual meetings. Bringing the person into the room. Not only for those away on business but for those who work from home. With good infrastructure they can answer their work phones, attend their meetings and complete that big project; all while flexibly fitting their out-of-work commitments around it all.

But won’t my employees get distracted at home?

Actually no, studies find that people that work from home actually more efficient than their office worker bee counterparts. The most popular example is the 2014 studying into CTrip (an online travel agent). CTrip allows its employees to optionally work from home, and measured their productivity when they chose to do so. The study finds that home workers answered 13.5% more calls, which is almost an entire extra days worth of work. In a similar study in 2016, 91% of people reported that they felt more productive than when they were in the office. This study was self reported so there may be some bias, but it shows employees are happier when working from home and happy employees are productive ones. Gone may be the days of getting to the office and wondering “Did I turn the stove off?

Having a working culture that supports those who require flexible working is amazing in the current corporate climate. Those companies that already have it, are really ahead of the curve. But if the infrastructure isn’t there you’re employees won’t be able to complete their work from home; which completely undermines the work put into flexible working. So if you haven’t already, I’d fill out that bulk order from your local tech retailer.

by James Hendry

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