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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

How tech is maximising production

Productivity in the workplace is a topic that continuously comes up when workplace discussion arises. Similarly, talk of how artificial intelligence will revolutionize the workplace is fast becoming commonplace. Despite talk of AI progression being such a dominant topic these days, the days of AI being integrated into the professional environment are not in immediate sight. Regardless, productivity in the workplace is an ever-changing and shifting concept, and technological advances are seeping into businesses at an increasing rate. While trust in employees to ensure their work is done – and done well – is a given necessity to any functioning company, there is also a need among the many for accountability. While staff clock on, thrust themselves into their jobs, and then clock out, there is much to be said about the work that is done outside of regular hours. When businesses employ people that are passionate about their careers, it is not only common but almost certain that those people will put in work outside of regular hours as well. Overtime work is not a new concept, and yet, companies and employees alike may not be utilizing the tools that allow them to keep track of all the work being done, in real time.

Businesses that function in the modern workplace environment succeed when they adapt to shifts in the industry, as well as use these shifts as a means to integrate evolving technologies into their company models. If one does the research, it becomes evident that the most successful businesses are the ones that use the shifting scapes of the business world to improve their methods – not the companies that ignore the shifts and instead stick to their outdated approaches. As more companies realize the value of digitization to even the most mainstream companies, the more rapidly the professional world evolves. Digital technologies have exploded into the world over the last few years, and the realization that productivity is increasing at alarming rates is only propelling the use of technology in the workplace even further.

Technology brought with it a world of opportunities and new possibilities and has indeed proven to be overwhelming at times. Productivity is one thing that employers once felt could be hindered by the immense amount of digital strategies being introduced all at once. Despite this once firm-held belief, the opposite has proven to be true. The introduction of new products like virtual chat rooms for business groups, Skype for Business, and the timesheet app have all proven to be brilliant strategies for accelerating productivity in the workplace. When employees have a space to bounce ideas and knowledge off to one another, they get excited and passionate about new information and projects. When staff have a platform to video call one another from different offices or locations, they can interact across vast distances, and bridge gaps that speaking via email cannot (one cannot buy a personal interaction, no matter how hard one tries – it adds a sense of accountability in human interaction that typing through a screen just does not). Timesheet apps track and store employee’s work and productivity, making it impossible not to understand and utilize them to maximize accountability and resulting productivity in the process.

When used correctly and efficiently, technology has the ability and the reach to advance and support humanity, rather than pushing against it. Engaging in digital ways of working allows employees to branch out of the narrow, and in turn maximise their potential and their abilities in ways that benefit their employer tenfold (as well as themselves as individuals). There is a mentality that ‘what gets measured gets done’, and this mentality (while sometimes decidedly narrow-minded) can be used to drive productivity and revenue above and beyond the expectations. While human connection and interaction speaks volumes of the ability of a group of people – as well as the individuals within that group, as people – there is a lot to be said about using technology to advance productivity in the workplace. Much like social media apps or health programs, once one can see results, they generally are driven to perform even better. On social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, when likes or comments are abundant, users feel confident to share more – even sometimes feeling the urge to be “Insta-famous”). Professional social applications such as Yammer, Slack, and LinkedIn provide individuals with a sense of belonging and a desire to do better. Health programs fill users with a drive to be better, to achieve bigger goals, once their results kick in and they start to feel better. Apps for workplace productivity work much the same…as one can see their tracking for the day (or the week, or the month, or even the whole year), they are quite often driven to succeed and to continue to do better every time they clock in their data.

Productivity in the workplace is a common topic of discussion, and as the rise of technology and digital platforms across the world continues to soar up, so does the likelihood that employees and employers alike will not only recognize the benefits of tracking productivity, but they will utilize them. With the workplace on an ever-evolving magnitude of developments towards a tech-based future, the tools available can only improve – as can the work be done by employees using them.

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