Technology is constantly changing the way in which businesses operate and employees interact with each other. In many aspects, new technologies are customer facing and improve on the product offerings. In other ways, the technologies are employee based and impact work culture in positive and negative ways.
Many companies allow employees the ability to work remotely for part, or all of their time, and to harness new technologies to dial into company networks like VPN networks and dedicated servers to do so. Working remotely provides employees with the flexibility to maintain personal lives and take care of their children and brings many people back to the workforce who may have been barred from it in the past. The added workplace diversity is a positive for an office culture and helps to allow many people to have a better work-life balance and feel more relaxed and comfortable when working
However, harnessing these new technologies to work remotely can come at a cost work culture wise. Some employees may resent the ability for some employees to work remotely and feel as if they aren’t working at all. Further, it may lead to some employees feeling not dialed into the culture of the company and not feel as if they are part of a cohesive team. When employees interact at work they may become more dedicated and make an extra effort for the company and the work culture can suffer if the ability to work remotely by harnessing technology is given too freely.
Communication channels are important in companies and allows individuals to interact with one more freely and transfer ideas and work projects. Many forms of communication channels are present in companies including phone calls, e-mails, and instant messaging functions. Video conferencing meetings are another option and can provide for more interactions between field members from across the world and help to build a better overall work culture. Still, many people feel as if the reliance on technology to communicate with one another comes at a cost culture wise, with limited personal interactions and a greater focus on communicating through technology.
Many employees feel as if technology means that they are always working. If you have the ability to access the internet, on your laptop or smartphone, you can receive and reply to emails, even if it is the evening or you are on vacation. This can lead to a lot of stress for employees and burn out employees. Organizations that are more relaxed in culture may begin to experience added stress and find that work is increasingly creeping into their work life balance. Organizations need to pay attention to how employees react to these stresses, but still maintain communications with employees and customers in an effective way.
In the past, employees received feedback from their bosses via written evaluations only on scheduled timelines. Many companies are using software to document and perform the analysis for them. Employees will log into the evaluation program, leave and receive feedback, and have a better understanding of where they are in their career and can make corrections as needed.
Work culture is a challenging thing to define and control. Technologies can help or harm the culture of a company, but is part of the reality of a business forever and needs to be channeled effectively. Management should work towards harnessing new technologies in ways that improve the productivity of a company rather than limit them.