Are you ready for personal technology in the workplace?
As we move further into the so called 4th industrial revolution (cyber-physical systems - see this article for further details), we ask the question, what will be the HR challenges of tomorrow?
What about today? The context of technology and social media
Today, we already have many social media apps and potential distractions invading the office space, but the desire to be connected, is that filling a gap, that organisations aren't?
Have we become so individual orientated, individual target driven (egoistic and selfish as a result) rather than team target focused, that the group camaraderie and support can only be found through a cyber 'connectedness' that physically isn't possible anymore because of the lives we lead?
Is the only way we can breathe anymore is electronically?
Is facebook and instagram and whatsapp, simply a reflection of cheap communication or a deeper insight into our compartmentalised and busy lives, as the search for work, takes us into such wide spread areas and consumes so much of our time, getting there, working there, being 'consumed' by our organisation, the only way we can breathe is electronically?
I think the sad truth is that maybe the case. People are shunning nightclubs and noisy places where they can chat and socialise in relative tranquility to the noise of social media. So it also creating a shift in the way we interact.
Change, always brings positives and negatives of course.
How does this affect us in the workplace?
Unsurprisingly, these technologies and their capabilities will creep onto the devices we use for work purposes. It's easy to react with an iron fist and ban such usage, but wait a minute, is this the best to way to engage your workforce and maybe even discover a new opportunity to improve working practices?
Engage with your staff to see what opportunities (and risks) there are.
As well as the challenge of policy and usage, developing Digital Skills is likely to be the biggest challenge facing organisations with diverse workforce age profiles. Technology can act as a barrier. So preparing people to use it properly is very important in this strategy.
When did you last go on an email training course?
The ease at which these things appear can make them seem deceptively easy. Type a few words, press the send button. When this becomes your central communication tool in a multi million pound business, perhaps you should get some help on how to use properly and productively!
Psychology has yet to catch up
Training is certainly key here to prepare people. It's one of the missing pieces in the puzzle of understanding productivity but psychological theory has also got to catch up and that isn't there yet. We need to understand better how it affects people because the rise in stress is becoming a serious concern.
We seem to plough on regardless to personal cost. This is the biggest danger in the rise of tech apps and software. Seemingly innocuous but highly powerful on behaviour and pyschological thinking.
Monitor impact of technology on human performance in different areas
Tracking and monitoring the impact of technology is something we currently don't do. The psychological impact is often greatly ignored over cost savings or 'performance improvements'.
Technology and well being
We can't stop the advance of technology but what we can do is understand what this means for the well being of the people who have to cope with it. By monitoring and tracking, training and educating staff on how to keep their minds and bodies sane, we can build a successful future and integrate technology successfully into our working (and personal) lives without too much collateral damage.
JOHN | THINKING HR