Technology Making the Workplace Smaller

Technology has been making the workplace smaller longer than some may realize.  For example machines in factories make car parts, clothes, and wood-work.  All the human has to do is type the design into another form of technology, a computer.  Of course someone has to push a button to start the machine, sometimes move equipment, and fix a machine if something goes wrong.  Basically, machines are faster than most humans and don’t have to be paid, so this knocks out a big chunk of jobs.  An example of this is an ATM.  These machines do the same job as a bank teller.  Of course we still need bank tellers because not everything can be done by these machines, but if you need money at one o’clock in the morning then it’s definitely more convenient.  Think back to the time period prior to this particular technology.  It was a time when everyone knew each other by name and to the point that they would ask, and actually care about, how the person’s family was doing.  This goes to show the disadvantage to this type of technology.  It has turned society to be less sociable in person, therefore, making a workplace smaller.

Here is another look at our lack of sociability.  There are many countries where almost everyone has a desktop or a laptop computer.  This means many jobs can be done from an employee’s home.  This is to their advantage because it allows them to multitask.  One may be busy with taking care of children or even just the home; either way a video or phone conference can be done easily, but possibly not more effectively.  For example, the use to be a door-to-door salesman’s job is now done from a Bluetooth in the ear of a person half way around the world; who by the way, gets hung up on, meaning, the loss of costumers, therefore, the loss of their job.  This change has pushed us into thinking it’s strange to have someone come to our door and that we should be scared of anyone who does.  This means they are getting paid to sit in the comfort of their own home, staring at a computer or talking on the phone.  However, when you actually need to talk to a human, you only get a recording that has taken someone’s job because they are no longer needed.

At this point you might be thinking just the opposite, wondering “isn’t it technology that has made life easier?  Isn’t it easier to be more sociable because it’s easier to contact someone?”  The answer is yes; however, technology isn’t usually used for that.  Less actually gets accomplished when talking to someone online than it does when talking in person.  For example, some employees are careful about what they write in an e-mail because they are afraid of how it will come across to their boss.  So this employee may not write what he or she actually needs to, in order for something to be accomplished.  The more technology we are forced to use in the workplace, the more normal it will be to only need to communicate with technology instead of our coworkers.

By Lindsay Hobdy, Business Major–IUPUC

Communication Breakdown


 Lost Money

Communication breakdowns in the business world can be very costly. Many companies focus on increasing profit and decreasing their costs. What most companies don’t realize is how much of these costs come from communication problems between managers and employees or the business and customers. Millions of dollars are lost every day due to poor communication. United States hospitals alone lose more than $12 billion a year due to poor communication. The worst part is most managers realize that there are problems with communication but don’t realize how big of a role that they play in the miscommunication themselves. These communication breakdowns can be due to several reasons including:

  • Different generations not understanding each other
  • Long meetings where the employees fade in and out of conversations and only pick up bits and pieces
  • Poor documentation
  • Or simply misunderstanding a person’s meaning

Lost Employees

Money is not the only thing that is lost due to these communication breakdowns. Around 80% of all complaints by employees are due to some form of communication misunderstanding. Poor corporate communication can cost a business its best employees. Replacing key talent can cost anywhere between 70 to 200 percent of that individual’s annual salary. If this is a common thing in a business then they are going to waste a lot of money.

A good example of a breakdown between a boss and one of his employees is going on right now. Earlier this week Peyton Manning stated that he felt the current situation wasn’t “healthy for his healing” and stated everyone is “walking on eggshells.” Him saying this upset Jim Irsay who responded by calling Manning a “Politician.” This is an example of how wording one thing wrong can lead to much bigger problems. Originally all Manning was trying to express were his concerns about continuing to play for the Colts and how he was upset to no longer be working with old friends. The way he worded it made it sound like he was calling his boss out which is never a good idea.

 Loss of Public Trust

            Using poor communication with your customers is a quick way to have your business fail. If a company is unable to talk with its customers in a way that they both understand and trust then that company will lose its customers and therefor lose money.  A great example of poor communication ruining a businesses’ reputation is the British Petroleum oil disaster. After the disaster BP’S CEO admitted that he had previously received information that there may be a problem. BP’S CEO was later fired for his poor handling of corporate communication.

What It All Means

So what does this all mean? Good communication skills are essential to having a successful business. Even if you are not involved in business, having poor communication skills can cost you your job. If a business was ran and staffed by people who all had excellent communication skills, that business would save themselves a lot of time, resources, and money. A little thought and revision can go a long way.