Technology: It’s about the people, not the workplace

In recent years, organisations have been onboarding the latest gadgets and technology to improve their workplaces. Interactive boards, new software, the latest devices, all of these are great examples of technology that can greatly improve a workplace, but have they just been bought to follow suit? Instead of purchasing technology to boost a workplace, we must now change the way we think slightly and ask, what technology can I purchase to boost my employees?

Technology is incredible, but it is the people using the technology that makes it valuable to a company. This is why new technology should always be considered with people at the front of your mind. How will it help employees complete their daily tasks more efficiently? Will employees need training to use this technology? If the technology is designed for the customer, how will it improve their user experience? These are the questions we must now ask so that we avoid onboarding technology unless it is going to positively affect the people using it.

In Microsoft’s Digital culture: Your competitive advantage report, over 20,000 employees across Europe gave their opinions on the technology they use in their businesses and their attitudes towards their jobs and performances. A conclusion drawn from this report was that “impactful digital transformation isn’t really about IT. It’s about people”. This is the basis of a key concept that is ‘digital culture’ which the report defined as “shared, underlying and deep-rooted basic assumptions, value, beliefs and norms that characterise how an organisation encourages and support technology use to get work done in the most effective way”. The 5 main findings from this report were:

  • Employee engagement positively correlates with workplace satisfaction.
  • Engaged employees have more control over their experiences at work.
  • A lot more company-provided devices are fixed rather than mobile.
  • Traditional workstyles are still far more common than modern alternatives.
  • Cultural context greatly influences engagement levels.

When considering recent events and the highlighting of the need to allow employees to work remotely, it is expected that a lot of these statements will soon change. If employees are more productive at home, then why pay rent for an office block? If employees can attend a meeting from the other side of the world, then why contribute to air travel pollution? This is why now is the time to view technology differently. To view it as a supplement to support employees, not as a feature to improve a workplace.

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