Remember a world without smartphones, tablets and high-speed broadband? The workplace of 20 years ago looked very different from today – but is better connectivity making us all more efficient?
Used in the right way, mobile technology can enrich our lives by enabling us to do more in less time. With more than half the Generation Z population believing that technology allows them to be more productive, organizations need to be mindful of new technologies and the impact they will have on the future workforce.
Technology can help balance ‘always on’ and ‘do not disturb’
Increased connectivity in the workplace means people can make faster decisions and complete tasks in a fraction of the time. The downside involves constant work updates and instant notifications that can be distracting and make it harder to stay in the flow when concentrating on a task.
So how can you make connectivity work for your business?
From face-to-face meetings to virtual meetings…
There was a time when meeting a client or attending a seminar meant catching a train or boarding a plane. And traveling still remains a drain on time and resources, especially if people stay in remote locations overnight.
Connected teams can complete projects ahead of schedule
But today, you can hold video conferences and webinars with only a mobile device and the internet to connect anywhere in the world. Decision-makers can collaborate more easily. Teams can complete projects ahead of schedule.
And as long as you set the same clear meeting goals and time limits for virtual meetings as you do for face-to-face get-togethers – you can make significant time savings and increase productivity.
From fax machines to the cloud…
Back in the 1980s, fax machines were revolutionary. Being able to transmit documents over a telephone line blew our minds.
The only problem was that you had to stand over the machine to make sure your fax had sent (then resend it when it hadn’t) instead of getting on with other things.
Just because you can send an email doesn’t mean you should
Now you can share documents in the cloud so everyone can read or edit them together. You could even email them – though just because you can send an email doesn’t mean you should . In some cases, other ways of communicating might be quicker and more productive.
From memos to instant notifications…
Previously, you had to type memo, print it and distribute it by hand. Not anymore. You can post them on the company intranet, corporate portal or share them via a communication platform like Workplace.
News Feed enables people to receive only the most important updates
Machine learning surfaces the updates that are important to individuals. And people can choose to receive only the most important announcements or posts.
From phone calls to instant messaging…
In the past, if you needed to get in touch with a colleague in another location you’d call them and if they weren’t there you’d have to leave a message.
It meant that getting in touch with someone could sometimes take days. Now you can simply ping them a message from your desk or on the move.
Turn off pop-up notifications and use do not disturb modes
Almost half of employees say that instant messaging tools in the workplace help increase productivity. The trick is to use messaging technology in a way that minimizes distractions – like turning off pop-up notifications or using do not disturb modes.
From sitting in the office to working remotely…
Thanks to the internet, people can work in ways that don’t limit them to sitting behind a desk or being present at the depot. And that can be a good thing. Open-plan offices and noisy workplaces can easily distract people.
A remote worker can enjoy a noise-free environment at home or in a quiet place of their choosing. And if they have a problem, they can get in touch with someone via an instant messaging or a screen-share to resolve an issue quickly.
From connectivity to productivity?
The argument that better connectivity is making work easier for people is difficult to refute. The test will be how well communication and collaboration tools help us find the Goldilocks zone between ‘always on’ and ‘do-not-disturb’.
But done the right way, it’s a path that could connect everyone to a healthier work-life balance and greater productivity.
Watch how Telenor use Workplace to connect people and get more done. And try Workplace Premium free for 90-days.
 Is work email dead? Workplace Stories, 2018.