To better understand the impact of technology on employee productivity, we asked professionals to weigh in on the topic. From a career coach’s perspective on balancing tech benefits and issues to a marketing manager’s advice on centralizing information for productivity, discover the diverse opinions and insights shared by these experts.
Tech Issues Can Delay Productivity
Technology in the workplace is meant to increase an employee’s productivity. And many times it does. Employees can be freed up to do more valuable work by automating and optimizing time-consuming tasks.
However, technology can sometimes make us less productive when we run into issues with the tech itself. System downtime and troubleshooting end up taking significant time away from employee productivity.
Career Coach, Resume Seed
Balance Technology With Proper Training
Technology in the workplace can both enhance and reduce an employee’s productivity, depending on its implementation and usage. When used effectively, technology streamlines processes, automates repetitive tasks and enables efficient communication, leading to increased productivity.
However, when misused or poorly managed, technology can become a distraction, cause information overload or lead to reduced employee engagement, ultimately hindering productivity. Balancing technology usage and ensuring proper training can help maintain optimal productivity levels.
Set Expectations and Parameters
When used properly, technology increases an employee’s productivity. Giving employees access to information and resources in real-time helps them solve challenges, increase confidence and boost productivity. This includes both company-introduced tech and an employee’s chosen devices.
Managers should set clear expectations on how technology is used during work hours. Do you want employees checking text messages and browsing social media? Probably not, but sometimes, giving employees some freedom to do so can help put them at ease and allow them to maintain focus. For example, if an employee is waiting on news from a family member about their health or well-being, they cannot focus until they receive word. Giving them the freedom to take that call or check that text is important.
Technology is part of our lives, and we need to embrace it while setting parameters to ensure productivity and safety don’t suffer.
Director of Client Strategy and Success, theEMPLOYEEapp
Expect a Mixed Impact From Technology
One way that technology may increase productivity is through automating routine tasks, improving communication and giving staff members the resources they need to perform more productively. For instance, technology like email, instant messaging and videoconferencing can help employees communicate and collaborate, making it simpler for them to work together no matter where they are physically located. The software can automate data entry, invoicing and scheduling, freeing up staff time for other critical activities.
However, technology can also hurt productivity. For instance, if social media, email, or other digital distractions are used excessively, productivity may suffer. Technology can also lead to information overload, which makes it challenging for employees to prioritize work and reach conclusions. It can sometimes foster a sense of seclusion and lessen face-to-face interaction and collaboration, which can be detrimental to productivity.
Remember, Behavioral Foundation Matters
Using technology for technology’s sake can reduce an employee’s productivity. Currently, the market is full of companies selling fixes to the complex layers of technology systems that were bolted together with no view of what the company actually needed. Technology will never fix behavioral issues and, too often, it is just layered on top instead of having done the hard work of aligning systems and incentives that drive improved behaviors.
There is often outstanding success in removing technology to get back to the behavioral foundation, fixing that, and then reapplying the right technology to drive the right behaviors to ensure maximum productivity. Behavior improves productivity, and technology can augment and speed up productivity only on top of proper behaviors.
So yes, technology can reduce an employee’s productivity if it is bolted onto a poor foundation of behaviors and a portfolio of unintentional and convoluted mixes (or should we say messes) of technologies.
Chief Innovation Officer, Polymathic Disciplines
Make Room for Strategy and Skilled Work
I would say that technology absolutely does not reduce employee productivity in the workplace. If anything, with the right technology (and with the explosive growth of AI), employees will continue to become much more efficient in their roles.
It is not a reduction in productivity to have technology handle lower level or time-heavy tasks that can be outsourced. This essentially will free up the time of employees to work on the projects that actually require their skills and full input, rather than taking them away from this type of work with menial tasks that can otherwise be optimized by technology in the workplace.
Founder and Managing Director, BroadbandDeals.co.uk
Proper Implementation Ensures Success
The impact of technology on an employee’s productivity in the workplace can vary depending on the specific technology, how it is used and the appropriate onboarding to the technology.
Technologies themselves aim to increase the productivity of employees and make their lives easier, but this goal often fails badly in the comprehensive and simple onboarding of employees to the software. Choosing the wrong software also contributes to this issue, so although the software offers all conceivable functions and possibilities, the software does not fit the needs of the employees.
Suitable and well-implemented software leads to an immense increase in employee productivity, as it can be integrated well into the daily routine and offers added value for the employees. Only then does technology lead to increased employee productivity and open up new potential.
Handle AI Wisely
AI can never reduce productivity when used to simplify tedious tasks at work. Being wise with it is in the hands of humans. A prime example is virtual platforms, which enabled seamless connections during the pandemic. Imagine without it how the business would have run, leading to employees’ disconnection for months.
Employees can access, learn, and gather information anywhere and can even shop or delegate personal errands, freeing up time to focus on their work. Today, AI-enabled tools (ChatGPT) can provide instant information and help create original content, saving time for data collection and presentation. Virtual assistants like Alexa also help gain great insights on various topics that can range from economics to psychology.
It is essential to be wise with technology to recognize the opportunities it brings, rather than resisting its impact. With the right intention and method, technology undoubtedly enhances productivity.
Principal Consultant, Vertical Lead of Learning and Strengths, NamanHR
Benefit From Streamlined Routine Tasks
Technology in the workplace can indeed improve an employee’s productivity. AI-powered solutions or automation, for example, can streamline routine tasks, freeing up more time for employees to focus on higher-level tasks that require creativity and critical thinking. This can lead to increased engagement, job satisfaction and productivity.
Technology can provide employees with real-time data and insights to make more informed decisions. Therefore, by strategically implementing technology such as AI-powered solutions, automation or virtual assistants, companies can create a more productive workplace for both employees and the organization.
CEO and Co-founder, Leena AI
Find the Tech Tool Sweet Spot
Technology has diminishing returns when there are too many tools. We’ve found that there’s a sweet spot, and it depends on the type of task the employee is engaged in.
For example, we manage our product roadmap and sprints in Jira, but our design team uses Asana. When we tried to get both teams to use both tools for collaboration, it ended up backfiring.
You should have one tool for a specific type of task and do your best to integrate that tool with other software you’re using. Integrate your CRM with your eSign solution, integrate your payment processor with your accounting tool, and so on.
Too many tech tools hurt productivity, but no tech tools at all are a disaster. Find the sweet spot for your organization and team.
CMO and Co-Founder, DoxFlowy
Centralize Your Tech Stack
The impact of technology on productivity is contingent on its integration into the broader tech stack. A key factor that can enhance productivity is the centralization of information, as it eliminates the need for employees to navigate multiple systems to achieve a specific outcome.
When staff members are required to work across various platforms, it can create additional administrative burdens and impede productivity. By adopting a centralized approach to your tech stack that ensures real-time updates across the entire ecosystem, employee productivity has the potential to soar.
Marketing Manager, ScaleXP