Technology is changing the way we communicate, learn, and even the way we work. Fifty years ago, people would drive to the office where everyone convened, make a few phone calls, and complete pages of paperwork. Things are changing; the world is in a constant state of change, and people should keep up with it before they get left behind.
Search engine ranking and online presence
Understanding consumers is detrimental in progressing a business. Rankings on search engines can make or break a business. Because people are using the internet more now than they were twenty years ago, online presence is definitely something to take into consideration.
Social media sites
Nowadays, a strong online presence is nearly necessary for a strong business. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer opportunities for developing this online presence. There are also numerous opportunities for advertising on these sites. Maintaining a platform can be time-consuming, but many would argue that the benefits are worth all the work.
Online office spaces
Along with networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, online spaces like Podio offer similar work communities. In these communities, documents, notes, and contact information can be shared. Staying in touch this way keeps everyone working on a project the hassle of regular meetings and the clutter that accompanies traditional office work. However, the advantages do not entirely outweigh the needs to meet with team members.
Using multiple devices
Computers aren’t the only technological devices used to fuel the workplace. Devices like tablets and smartphones are being used more to complete tasks and stay on task. The use of smartphones is particularly popular. People use their smartphones to read emails, take calls, schedule appointments, check their calendars, and even download documents while they are away from their desks. The main concern here might be that work documents could get misplaced on all these extra devices.
Office setting and freelancers
Perhaps the biggest change to the office space is the actual setting of the office. Online work has never been easier (or more plentiful), and an office space could just be a kitchen table; shared offices have also become more popular. Some employers have all but eliminated the office and instead hire remotely. The increased use of the world wide web has made working from nearly anywhere a possibility.
Freelancers develop their skills on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr every day. There is also no longer a need to rely strictly on bulletin boards and word of mouth. The number of freelancers has risen, and it is expected that it will continue to rise.
Decrease in paperwork
Due to the abundance of computers in the workplace, paperwork has become less of a regularity. Emails help lessen the paperwork while being fast and easy to send, much faster and easier than mailing a handwritten letter or writing and addressing a memo (that will likely be misplaced or tossed to the side). The elimination of extra work (and cost) associated with filling out this paperwork allows more time for productivity. However, paper documents are not without their benefits (e.g. files won’t be lost if the system goes down).
Cost is a concern when running a successful business. Technology requires a lot of energy, and businesses are considering new ways to help lower costs (like installing a water, gas, or electric submeter or eliminating office spaces entirely). The cost of utilities is one of the highest costs for multi housing property owners, so investing time in reducing costs could help businesses to progress by allowing more money for other expenses or improvements.
The traditional office is fading away and making room for the virtual office. The increased use of technology helps to lower some costs (e.g. paper), it can drive up others (e.g. energy use). The pros and cons should be weighed differently according to each business. The main focus for a business is to be productive, and sometimes the importance of productivity outweighs the importance of cutting costs. Most importantly, neither productivity nor cost can replace the value of good customer service.