The modern Indian workplace – how technology is changing work culture
How technology is changing work culture and office dynamics as we knew it
By: HT Brand Studio
Enormous technological forces are radically altering the way we work. Disruptive innovations are creating new kinds of companies and business models every day. Technology has changed the workplace in so many ways in the past two decades. And furthermore, with newer technologies, social networks and data analytics, the way employees work, communicate and collaborate is rapidly changing. Conventional workplaces are giving way to new ones.
A 2016 report by Adobe - 'Work in Progress' revealed that Indian office workers are overall the most positive and flexible workforce. The report said that in a survey it conducted the respondents chose technology as more important than other flashier perks, when it came to keeping them happy at work. As much as 93 percent of Indian office workers said they believe that technology makes them more productive.
Geographies don't matter
For India, the path-breaking moment arrived in the 90s during the BPO/outsourcing boom. Telecommunications had ensured that customer support segments of companies need not be based in the same country; they could be stationed anywhere in the world as long as they have a phone network. That was when late night shifts and game consoles at work became a thing. And there has been no stopping after that.
Today, the workforce is on call all the time, and more mobile than ever. India has one of the highest numbers of smartphone users in the world, and combined with increasing Internet penetration, it has given employees the benefit of working from anywhere.
"The Internet is today in the hands of billions, transforming the way we experience the world around us for good. The breakneck speed of technology innovation and the way in which social media, mobile devices and the cloud permeate all aspects of our lives means that in many parts of the world, if you were born after the year 2000, you were born connected," offers Anthony Bartolo, President, Mobility, IoT and Business Collaboration at Tata Communications.
The availability of the Internet has also increased the productivity of the workforce. The focus has shifted to talent instead of location. Workplaces are changing to suit the needs of the new generation. Apps such as Slack and Asana have taken the idea to a different level. They allow employees to talk, discuss, share, ideate, and everything else from their smartphones. The smartphone has become the new workplace in so many ways. From email to Skype, they ensure that employees don't have to be physically present to collaborate or communicate with colleagues.
Democratisation of information
Technology by nature is democratising, and at the workplace it has ensured that information is democratised. Digital recordkeeping makes sure that company information is accessible to all. This system helps the workplace become more accountable and transparent. It ensures that employees participate in shaping company policy, troubleshooting and solving problems. Technology has made it possible for employees to be part of the decision-making process.
Today individuals and businesses are not isolated or insulated by geographies or geopolitics. In a hyper connected world, workplaces are hyper connected as well. Technology is helping rapidly growing Indian businesses stay connected across geographies. It has had a huge impact on globalisation and it lets companies of all sizes do business with customers all over the world.
Are we there yet?
But the question is will this become the norm for all workplaces? The answer is both yes and no.
Businesses today are on the road to the much-talked-about 'digital transformation'. "In many organisations, digital transformation starts with mobility with the aim of boosting employee productivity and organisational agility. Furthermore, many organisations are already well on their way to mobilising their workforce: it has been estimated that up to 45% of enterprise employees can now be categorised as 'anytime, anywhere,'" Bartolo adds.
To realise the full potential of this mobile workforce, however, requires a shift in thinking. The companies that embrace out-of-the-box, seamless collaboration, communication and mobility platforms for their workforce and accept technology as the glue that holds together the people and the work will be best positioned to succeed in this new hyper-connected world.