What has changed the workplace? Time has shown us a variety of changes and here are just a few that affect our day to day business life.
Changes in the Workplace
I came across an article in a FastCompany magazine yesterday that listed 10 inventions that shaped the workplace. Being in the telecommunications industry, I was a little perturbed that the telephone didn’t make the list. Aside from the computer, has anything shaped the workplace more? I’ve been in this industry for over 25 years and the changes to telecommunication in the last 5 years are definitely changing the workplace. For example, I work with a group of interns in our office. I have their extensions grouped in my ShoreTel Connect Client. I can easily send group voicemails and group chats whenever I need to communicate with them and in whatever form of communication works best.
Inventions that Have Changed the Workplace
The list included Cubicles at Number 5. Cubicles apparently came into the workplace around 1968. There are many benefits to cubicles but a few downsides, one of which is noise. We can address that problem in any office environment with sound masking. It’s amazing what a little white noise can do to keep your team’s productivity.
Number 3 on the list was the Rolodex. Granted, in its day (originally introduced in 1956) the Rolodex was probably one of the only ways to keep your contacts organized but does anyone still use it today? Apparently, according to the article, you can still purchase them at office supply stores. I’d be curious to know how many they actually sell. Why not use your Communicator or Connect client to store all your contacts whether they are in your Outlook or your telephone directory?
The Five-day work week came in at Number 2. Claimed to have started in 1908 to recognize Saturdays as well as Sundays as religious holidays; I have got to wonder if people worked 6 days a week before that. If so, then, yes, I am glad for that ‘invention’ shaping the modern-day workplace. But how about letting people work remote any day of the week from wherever that happens to be.
Where is the IoT on this list? Missing. Nothing. And I repeat – nothing, in my opinion, has shaped the workplace like the Internet of Things. From mapping out service technicians and accessing databases to Caller ID, every day in every way, the office staff depends on the internet and integration with the data there to efficiently do their jobs.
If you’re curious to learn what other ‘inventions’ made the list, you can read the article in the September issue of FastCompany Special Report. I couldn’t’ find it on their web page. The article is called 10 Inventions that Shaped the Workplace by Kim Lightbody.