Changes In Communication Caused By Technologies
In today’s society, the effectiveness of a business’ communication system is an essential part of the function of its working. It is no longer a world of handwritten memos, fax machines, and pagers. The norm is now emails, instant messenger, social media, and video calls. This accessibility to be able to communicate instantly with anyone anywhere in the world has created new opportunities in business and has become an integral part of the working environment (Yin, Ou, Davison & Wu, 2018). Good and effective communication allows for companies to be productive and operate effectively as well as increasing employee satisfaction and morale (Fultz et al., 2018).
One way that technology has advanced communication within the workplace is by creating new forms of collaboration. This is a fresh concept to the traditional idea of teamwork. Technology has allowed for teams to be able to collaborate remotely and asynchronously across wide distances on the same project at the same time through the use of document sharing software and cloud technology, meaning that once an employee has left the office they are still connected to the workplace. Unilever takes advantage of this technology by allowing employees to work from home and in spaces that they find to be inspiring (Herman, 2018). In a survey by Flexjobs, it was found that 76% of workers in the US would prefer to work in other places than the office due to factors such as fewer distractions and interruptions and reduced stress (Reynolds, 2015).
Furthermore, interaction is no longer limited to face-to-face meetings, people are now able to use video calling technology (such as skype and google hangout) to have business meetings from different corners of the globe with there no longer being a need for people to travel across seas to have business meetings enhancing the speed and ease of communication. This form of communication is utilized by Unilever in many ways. One example of where they have used video calling technology in place of face-to-face communication is within the recruitment process, as candidates are now required to attend a video interview (TARGETjobs, 2019).
Another way technology has advanced communication within the workplace is through the use of social media. Social media has affected all aspects of society and day-to-day life, Including the way that businesses operate. It has become a key component to giving small businesses a voice as well as creating opportunities for larger businesses to stay InTouch with their customers on a more personable level than ever before (Robertson & Kee, 2017).
Social media has also massively affected the recruitment process. Before technology was as advance as it now is jobs were advertised through word of mouth, local papers, and sector relevant magazines with CV’s needing to be submitted via post or fax, and all interviews were done face to face this could be very time consuming and finding candidates with particular skill sets could be quite difficult. Now with modern technology job opportunities can be advertised online and worldwide meaning the best people with the best skills can find roles and apply through the use of a smartphone (Calco.co.uk, 2018).
However, along with all these positive adaptations, there is also a negative impact that technology has had on workplace communication. One way is that many people have found that there is a loss of interpersonal communication skills due to the reliance on new forms of communication and that the workplace has become disengaged. Additionally, this new form of communication is so efficient that it allows for the sender to message on impulse rather than being mindful of what they are sending increasing the likelihood of unprofessionalism (Yin, Ou, Davison & Wu, 2018). Despite the negative impact communication technology has caused, the positive results largely outweigh them.
There are many ways that a workplace can integrate technology into the communication system. At Unilever each employee has access to high-performance laptops with Wi-Fi and office 365 suit along with company intranet as a form of internal social media, in some cases employees are also given company smartphones. This allows for employees to be able to communicate within the workplace quickly and efficiently, creating a more streamlined communication system (Poole, 2017).