The modern workforce is strongly rooted in the advances that are constantly being made in technology. The hybrid and remote office would not exist without the systems and conveniences technology allows, and we benefit from increased collaboration and instantaneous communication. Of course, it also has downsides and can create isolation and impersonal work environments.
That is why it is important to understand the impact technology has on company culture.
Positive Effects of Technology on Company Culture
There is no argument that technology has positively impacted our work lives. We are more connected than ever both domestically and internationally, opening up a world of possibilities that didn’t exist in a solely analog world. What advances in working do we owe to technology? Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Increased collaboration and communication
We are now able to be instantaneously and perpetually connected to colleagues around the world. E-mail, instant messaging, and advanced communication systems tear down the barriers to open communication worldwide. Not only is it easier to reach each other, but it is also simple to collaborate and work with those who speak languages other than our own.
When your company can span the globe and feel connected even when miles and oceans separate you, you can build a strong and tight culture where people learn and grow from people everywhere. You are no longer tied to those adjacent to you; you create a diverse and rich culture.
Remote work and work-life balance
Although not a new concept, remote work took the stage front and center during the pandemic. The world was forced into a work-from-home scenario, and it would have been near impossible without our modern technology. But remote work and the ability to balance the demands of life and career have long been the cry of the working parent and are amplified by the youngest generation who is now entering the workforce.
Technological connection allows companies to offer employees choice in the how and where of work. When you hire people and trust them to do their work from anywhere and allow them to weave some life into the workday, you create a culture that shows you care and that you see them as a whole person.
Efficiency and productivity
A truly engaging and connected organization naturally becomes more efficient and productive. People are giving their best, feel safe, and are connected to their work. But don’t underestimate the effect technology has on efficiency and productivity. When you are able to not only collaborate and communicate with others from a remote place but do so in an open and welcoming environment, you will be more apt to use the technological tools to get more done. SO culture goes both ways – it is impacted by technology, but it also impacts the way the technology is used.
Innovation and creativity
Back in 2020, Up Your Culture was an in-person, 2-day workshop, but along came the pandemic, and we needed to pivot! Technology allowed us to transform into a year-long, virtual instructor-led program, utilizing technology to not only create it but deliver it. Anyone involved in the build team will tell you that having the technology to transform the program using technology increased creativity among us all and forced us all into a creative and open-thinking space.
The fact that we were able to complete this large lift and that our leadership allowed us to pull out all the stops to create a unique program truly had a positive impact on us all.
Pitfalls of Technology to Avoid
Technology can definitely contribute to your company’s overall culture and create positivity, but like anything, there are certain pitfalls to avoid that could create a negative effect on culture.
First and foremost, make sure your use of technology is warm and doesn’t create isolation or disconnection with your team. Whenever possible, be sure people have cameras on in virtual meetings, and just because you are virtual, don’t forget the small talk and chatter that happens before a meeting starts. We still need to be human through the lens. You don’t want everyone to be so dependent on technology that they lose important face-to-face interactions.
People do crave the opportunity to work either remote or hybrid, but it can also create a blurred boundary between work and personal life. Culture can suffer if your employees feel like they need to always be working. Set expectations and guidelines on when and where they are expected to be available and have leaders set an example.
All in all, technology is an important piece of creating a positive and sustainable culture. Productivity and collaboration increase and people feel like they are in control of their work. But like with any workplace tool, be sure to set the standards and guidelines for how and when technology should be utilized in the workplace.