5 Ways Technology Has Transformed Professional Communication

There’s nothing like watching a movie from a decade or two ago to make it obvious how aggressively workplace technology is changing over time. Fax machines? Floppy disks? Filing cabinets? It’s hard to imagine those having any place in a modern workplace—although someone may want to tell the Department of Defense that, as it allegedly still relies on 8-in. floppy disks.

Offices now are eschewing clunky, physical pieces of technology for virtual apps, storage systems and communication tools. The effect? The very way we meet, collaborate and do business has changed along with available technology. Here are just five ways technology has transformed professional communication as we know it.

Enabling Remote Telecommunications

Perhaps the most obvious change in the modern work environment is that people don’t have to be physically in it to feel like they are. Between 2005 and 2015, the trend of regularly working from home (excluding self-employed workers) grew by 115 percent. With so many advanced teleconferencing options and web-based collaboration tools, being present in an actual office is not a prerequisite for getting work done—or even making direct eye contact.

Streamlining Feedback Collection Processes

Anyone in HR knows how much of a hassle collecting employee feedback used to be. Whether it involved passing out paper surveys or sending around mass emails and hoping for the best, old survey methods allowed a lot of valuable (and timely) information to slip through the cracks. Now, tools like interactive Google Slides allow presenters to crowdsource anonymous opinions to drive decision-making in real time. These new methods for collecting feedback and insights tend to promote transparency, too, because everyone—not just a manager or coordinator—can witness the results.

Blurring the Line Between Work and Personal Devices

The new name of the game is Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD). Employees are increasingly doing work on personal devices and engaging in personal activities (like scrolling social media or shopping online) on work devices, meaning there’s no longer any clear distinction between the two categories. While this can be both convenient and cost-reducing, employers should be sure to outline clear technology usage policies and beef up cyber security to prevent an unfortunate data breach. After all, it takes only one lost device or unsecure Wi-Fi connection to spell serious trouble for a company.

Boosting Productivity (and Distraction)

Working in a modern office typically means accessing workflow tools and apps, corresponding with colleagues via chat or email and exchanging information electronically on a daily basis. The upside is that these processes can truly save time and effort when it comes to checking boxes off your to-do list. The downside is that it’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed with the amount of input and output it takes to get through the day.

At first glance, productivity may seem to be simply how much an employee actually gets done. But, NPR Business Desk Correspondent Yuki Noguchi writes, “Productivity isn’t just about saving wasted time or eliminating distraction. Increasingly, it means adapting to a workforce that’s changing demographically.” This includes figuring out how to incorporate the previously mentioned tech-enabled remote workforce.

Prioritizing Collaboration in the Cloud

Remember the days of emailing yourself a file so you could open it on a different device? The cloud has made such actions obsolete. Anyone with permission can access shared documents to collaborate from any device or location, which goes hand in hand with the rise of the remote workforce. Being a team player is more intuitive and necessary in contemporary workspaces due to the sheer accessibility of the cloud.

These five examples showing how technology has already transformed professional communication are just the tip of the iceberg. Modern workspaces place a high premium on instantaneous collaboration, feedback and productivity—all thanks to advancements in technology.

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