Technology has radically transformed modern society. In the office, however, it can be difficult to notice how incremental changes affect work. Taking a step back reveals how large this change has been and how technology truly rules modern offices.
1) Document Creation
Documents are still important to business, and regulations will likely ensure that paperless offices are a long way off. In spite of this, most paper documents begin their lives in office programs. From office memos to financial reports, computer technology has banished handwritten papers and typewriters to the past.
2) Easier Collaboration
When the first computers came to offices, they were primarily used as stand-ins for typewriters and other traditional office products. Over time, however, their role has changed significantly. Automatic revision logging and collaborative programs have no analog in the past, and these new technologies makes collaborative work far more smooth than it was in the past. While work is still divided between staff, they are often working directly on the main project instead of working on small parts to bring together at a later date.
3) New Means of Communication
Email has had a dramatic effect on offices. It shares the speed of telephone calls with the verbosity and permanency of letters, but it is not used quite like either of these older technologies. Sending an email is now viewed as a routine part of doing business, but it was still relatively new only 15 years ago. As more offices are moving to collaborative software, instant messages and embedded notes are becoming popular.
4) Easy Access to Information
The early days of computers in the office were often marred by time-consuming and expensive tech support calls. Today, most problems can be solved by a quick Internet search. Staff members would often spend hours on the phone trying to track down suppliers of specific devices; today, searching for a seller of a niche product generally leads to quick results. Basic facts and statistics have never been easier to compile, and this easy access to information helps businesses operate far more smoothly than in the pre-Internet days.
5) Constant Contact
It is hard to believe that cellular phones were relatively rare only 20 years ago, but there was a time when employees could be difficult to contact after the office has closed for the night. Some employees would be given beepers, but they were expensive and generally only used by management. Today, cellular phones are ubiquitous, and many businesses supply their employees with them. Further, employees can be sent emails that they will likely read. While this has offices deal with problems as they occur, many long for days when going home truly meant forgetting about work for the night.
The most amazing aspect of this technological revolution has been how it has gone largely unnoticed by many employees. It is easy to lose perspective on how much business has changed because the changes accumulate slowly over time. Employees today, however, operate in a way that would seem completely alien to an employee only a decade ago.
Phillip is a Technology Guru from Sydney, Australia. He says that technology now well and truly owns modern offices and virtual office space has also become quite popular among smaller businesses in their growth phase. Phillip writes for many leading Tech and Gadget blogs and is currently writing a book on the way technology influences our daily lives.