No matter how you feel about technology, one thing is certain: since its introduction into the workforce, it has and will continue to transform just about every facet of every industry as we know them. Opinions about its application vary widely. It’s not uncommon to hear another narrative about technology impairing social interaction and mental wellbeing through screen-based communications, or about the appeal of technology as a distraction in the workplace.
However, despite the abundance of technology-focused media that ranges from raising legitimate concern to permeating incredulous propaganda, there are just as many reasons to be excited about the incorporation of technology in the workplace. In fact, technology can help improve a great number of ailments in the workplace that were previously thought unsolvable. It all comes down to what types of technology you use and how you use it.
Improving Mental Health
The Americian Institute of Stress estimates that companies lose up to $300 billion annually from absentee workers with high stress levels. For this reason alone, it’s clear that establishing a workplace environment that revolves around employee mental health should be an important goal for any organization. Doing so enables an atmosphere that is conducive to positive work interactions, better job performance, and increased retention.
In an effort to combat workplace stress, a number of surveys have indicated that technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) will play a large part in the years to come. More specifically, AI technologies can be utilized to foster meditative practices, employee support, and improvements to communication processes. Take tech start-up, Humu, for example. Throughout its typical workday, Humu leverages AI to aggregate data based on behaviors of successful managers and team members. This data is then used to amass a set of reminders that signify when certain managerial actions should be done and under what circumstances. This, in turn, allows Humu employees to engage with each other more effectively with clearer objectives, thereby providing a greater sense of worker comradery, fulfillment, and reduced stress.
Improving Quality of Life
With populations increasing every day, the need for companies to identify ways in which they’re able to serve their growing list of clientele becomes further necessitated. Along with this list comes a seemingly endless amount of data to process. As companies have explored ways to keep up, one technology has emerged as a solution: robotic process automation (RPA). With RPA technology, companies can task software robots to take over processes that typically require human involvement. Not only can these bots be taught to replicate entire processes from start to finish, but they can also perform them with greater speed and precision.
In addition, because these bots don’t require breaks or compensation for time worked, they can work tirelessly after normal hours of operation. This, coupled with the elimination of human involvement to complete said processes, frees up workers from long hours of completing repetitive tasks to instead engage in more creative work that they find more fulfilling. Hospitals and doctors’ offices are two examples of businesses leveraging RPA technology to handle administrative tasks, such as billing and claims processing. Many report that the additional time they find in their day increases the amount of time they can spend with their patients, enhancing their overall quality of care.
Improving Company Culture
With so much technology at a company’s disposal, it can be easy to think that adding another tool to a company’s arsenal can impede workplace productivity. However, as long as a company keeps its list of redundant software and platforms relatively short, this is usually not the case. Through corporate messaging, video conferencing, and cloud-based collaboration platforms, employees are able to connect and perform work from just about anywhere. This lends itself to a new level of flexibility employees hadn’t previously enjoyed, and an ability for companies to foster a more lenient workplace culture.
This is a welcomed improvement, particularly as companies have become more scattered and cases of remote work have risen—in fact, 43 percent of the labor force now works remotely, according to a recent survey by Gallup. In an effort to maintain worker satisfaction and retain and attract top talent, it is in the interest of companies to adapt to changes in workforce preferences. Since top talent isn’t always found within close proximity of a company’s headquarters, it can be beneficial to provide staff with a flexible working arrangement that appeals to both parties. Fortunately, such an arrangement is possible thanks to the assistance of technology.