Technology and your working day

Technology vs productivity
I wonder if they had this discussion 250 years ago when machines took over many of the manual jobs in the industrial world? Or is it just that the pace of technology now is outstripping our capacity to deal with it? According to research 7 out of 10 workers do not feel that technology has increased their productivity and 1 in 3 said it actually hindered it.

These were the results of a survey at management level, with more male workers than female workers saying it hindered them. Is this a case of technology overselling itself or more that technology devices are seen to distract and encroach on your time day to day?

Too many screens
I write this whilst facing two screens on my desk (both with those little email pop ups) and a smart phone at the side of me which would suffer from attention deficit if I had not turned off the sound alerts – although the urge to check it throughout the day is ever present even at home in the evenings and weekends. If you forget your phone, or the battery dies whilst you are out the feeling of being cut-off is quite strong (my teenage children tell me it is a tragedy if they can’t see their phone 24/7). All of this does put my ability to multi-task and not get distracted on the line.

Let me sleep
We are all also jeopardising their sleep quality by spending up to 85 per cent of our waking hours staring at screens – PC monitors, smart phones, tablets, laptops and then the TV at home.

Research has found that UK workers are spending an average of 13 hours and 34 minutes a day looking at screens while at work, commuting and at home. Surprisingly, employees are spending an average of 55 hours 36 minutes a month staring at a screen while commuting, when they could be giving their eyes a much-needed rest.

The study revealed that engineers are the professionals that spend the most time staring at a screen throughout their day. On average, engineers are looking at screens for 7 hours and 16 minutes at work, 5 hours and 22 minutes while commuting and 6 hours and 3 minutes while at home.

The top five professions that are spending the most time looking at screens throughout the day are: Engineer (18 hours 40 minutes); IT Specialist (18 and a half hours); Accountant (13 hours 20 minutes); Teacher (12 hours 27 minutes); Admin Staff (9 hours 28 minutes)

Pace of change
This pace of technological advancement is not going to stop; in fact, it is more likely to speed up with ever more sophisticated devices. If we can’t cope with it will AI, or a robot, step in and replace us?Are we ‘over-educated’ for our role (recent research I read suggests that 5.1m workers in the UK are) or ‘under-educated’ to cope with new technology in the workplace?

In todays’ business world email is the new phone call with senders expecting your immediate attention and reply, even if you are out of the office or engaged in something else. I get emails asking if I got their email – can’t they just call me if it is urgent? And where does work stop and your personal life take over? The old nine to five, office based model may still exist in some sectors, but in many the edges are very blurred due to the accessibility of technology to everyone via the smartphone, wi-fi, the cloud and social media. This is leading to our work and personal lives merging together – more freedom to work where we want, but less freedom to say when we are done for the day.