It is no secret that technology has advanced quickly over the past few years. With this advancement have come changes in the way we learn, interact, and complete daily tasks. One specific place where individuals encounter these changes almost daily is in their place of work.
The truth is that technology has changed the modern workplace in many ways. So much so that it is nearly impossible to imagine what our places of employment would be like if technology had not grown as it did.
Because of this growth, most tasks take much less time to complete, workers are more efficient, and organizations are more productive. Individuals have more work/life balance because technology allows them to work away from the office. It is even possible for employees in different countries to interact to get something done quickly or to assist a customer.
There is no denying that the progression in technology has had a positive impact on the working world. But this progression has not always been completely beneficial to today’s workforce. In various ways, technology has gotten in the way of human engagement. One area in the workplace where technology has been disadvantageous to some extent is communication.
Communication in the Workplace
One of the most important processes that takes place in an organization is communication. When individuals are at work, they communicate with others around them in some way. This interaction is mostly interpersonal, and often it involves interchanging ideas and information. Through this interaction, individuals can learn about different non-verbal cues and how to respond to those.
Without effective communication, necessary workplace processes would be close to impossible. Currently, many argue that technology has hindered communication in the workplace in a major way.
In today’s organizations, there is software that allows individuals to work without having to talk face-to-face. Email or chat programs allow people to communicate without having to speak to each other directly. A lot of the time, coworkers are not in the same place anymore because working remotely is so common. Customers can even get important tasks done from their electronic devices without having to speak with an actual person.
All of these changes are great and they offer employees convenience, flexibility, and more work/life balance. But has this all been at the cost of effective communication? In some ways, it has been, but fortunately, as technology continues to advance, it is also giving us ways to improve our interpersonal communication.
Applications such as FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom offer individuals a platform where they can communicate with coworkers. That is why many organizations are now using these platforms to conduct meetings with remote employees. In this way, they can discuss ideas, concerns, and future plans. This allows people to participate in interpersonal communication as they can see everyone that is on the call, and can read their body language and nonverbal cues. Other than this, there are also other strategies that an individual can implement to find balance in today’s workplace.
Balancing Technology and Human Engagement
Finding a balance between working with technology and engaging in meaningful workplace communication is not easy. It is important to remember that although technology assumes that people are available at all times, it is not practical or healthy to be accessible 24/7. One way to set limits is to create a realistic schedule, ensure that all the necessary people agree with it, and then follow it. Also, scheduling meetings and phone calls ahead of time helps employees balance their time, prepare, and be ready.
These suggestions are easier said than done. I find myself struggling to find this balance as I am a full-time graduate student at an online school, and also currently interning remotely. The applications mentioned above are some that I use almost daily, and instant chatting or sending emails is very convenient. But we have to remember that even with those advancements, it all goes back to the fact that we are human, and we need to communicate with others and form interpersonal relationships. We need to listen to the ideas of others, and we need to share our plans and aspirations.
Technology has changed so many daily workplace tasks, but communication is not one that can be replaced completely.