Technology can be, and usually is, a wonderful thing. It has allowed to progress from cavemen subsisting on forage and hunting to living in a world where crops from halfway across the world show up at our doorstep, but it also can have a frequently downplayed negative effect on the people who must work with this new Technology.
While I’ll mostly be focusing on the service industry and the technology that has been developed for it since the creation of affordable and versatile computers, the manufacturing industry has also seen massive changes, some of them damaging. Since the development of robotics, conveyor belt production lines have almost been completely automated for the last couple of years. Robots are constantly improving in dexterity and the ability to complete more complex tasks.
It’s entirely possible that robots with human supervision will be working in more complex trades such as car manufacturing throughout the developed world. Unfortunately, this means you need to make a lot of hard workers redundant since their abilities have been made redundant. In the past, this has led to national strikes and political movements (e.g. the Luddite movement of the 1800s) and an enormous strain put on a country’s welfare system as more unemployed workers have to apply for benefits to stay financially afloat.
While Office work is affected by technology in a less drastic fashion, it’s still a problem that can affect office or retail workers. One of the more insidious and long-term issues is the fact that modern office life is extremely sedentary – you sit in front of a bright screen on a cheap office chair for 6 to 9 hours a day, typing up several documents a day, occasionally getting up to use the toilet or deal with other office matters.
The effect on the mind and body can be catastrophic in the long term without preventative measures such as good posture, regular breaks from the chair and screen, as well as exercise to burn the calories you consume sitting on a chair at work. Staring at a screen all day has also been repeatedly shown to cause eye strain, which very slowly degrades the quality of your eyesight, and if working late into the night, disrupts your sleep schedule as the body won’t activate the chemicals needed to feel sleepy when it still thinks it’s daytime.
Before the advent of mobile communications, people generally stopped working when they left the office. At the very least, it was possible to do non-work activities without being hounded by work colleagues. Nowadays, certain people in a company are expected to work long after they leave the office, frequently being assigned new tasks while at home when they should be unwinding.
Alongside this is the gradual erosion of privacy. Many employees are expected to carry a work phone or laptop with them, and the law hasn’t caught up to deal with the problems this can cause. It’s possible for a work colleague to look through another colleague’s non-work related browser history such as social media posts and frequented websites, gleaning information from them that shouldn’t be gleaned. Although very much illegal, it is also possible to use the cameras and microphones on these devices to listen in on what employees might be doing out of office.
While losing a sheet of paper somewhere in the office may present security issues, the information that we store on servers or even on hard disk storage is shockingly easy to steal with the right tools. Cybersecurity is of the utmost importance in businesses nowadays due to the sensitive information that could be stolen or irretrievably lost by a number of means, including hacking, accidentally installing a botnet, virus, worm or other malignant software and even disgruntled employees looking to profit from some corporate espionage.
From this, we can see that while technology has made our work life easier in some regards, bringing in new tech can present unique and disruptive challenges to a company, some of which can undo years of trust building with your employees. When figuring out what steps need to be taken to preserve the wellbeing of your employees, consider looking into professional business development agencies to figure out what presents the biggest hurdle to your company, and your employees’ futures.
Chetaru is an App Design Agency based in Darlington that provides the IT know-how that your firm needs to succeed and thrive, from beautiful responsive websites to economical SEO campaigns and useful mobile Apps.
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