Technology vs Your Career

Technology and 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?

I write this whilst facing three screens on my desk (all 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 – even the washing machine at home beeps furiously when it is finished so that I can’t forget that it is there! Three PCs is great but it does put my ability to multi-task and not get distracted on the line.

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.

Next week is National Work Life Week…