The downside to living in a digital world is the distractions that come with it. Naturally, this raises the question, does technology help or hinder workplace productivity?

A wealth of new technology has become available to us over the last decade – all of which has ultimately been designed to make us more productive. From mobile apps to improved Wi-Fi, we should be more efficient both in the workplace and on the go.

The downside to living in a digital world however is the distractions that come with it. Naturally, this raises the question, does technology help or hinder workplace productivity?

The case for technology

It reduces costs – emailing means you don’t have to pay for postage and if you need to speak to a client on the other side of the world a Skype call is free as opposed to paying for an expensive phone call. The money you save here can be used to increase staff salaries or put it towards incentives like the Christmas party – all of which can help to boost productivity.

It saves time – one of the greatest things to come from modern technology is without doubt, Google. The search engine giant helps us in every aspect of our lives but can be particularly helpful in the workplace. If an employee is stuck on something, a quick Google search normally presents you with the answer you need. There’s normally a YouTube tutorial on just about everything as well which means that staff can source information much quicker than if they were to wait until a manager is free to offer extra training.

The case against technology

It’s distracting – the biggest issue with technology is how distracting it is and how often it’s not put to good use. Whether it’s replying to personal emails, checking social media accounts, spending all afternoon reading the news or watching cat videos on YouTube, you can guarantee employees are wasting a lot of the working day doing non-work related activities.

Sometimes it goes wrong – from the Internet going down to apps crashing, technology does unfortunately go wrong from time-to-time. This can lead to downtime and even work getting lost which can be a big strain on productivity.

How to prevent workplace distractions

Whether you love it or loathe it, the reality is that no business can function without embracing modern technology. The good news is that there are a number of tactics you can employ to prevent staff getting distracted by it.

  • Devise and issue a company policy about personal use of tech equipment so people know when they can and cannot check the likes of social media. It often works well to allocate regular breaks where people can reply to personal emails or check in with day-care because if they know they can do this, they’re going to be less tempted to do so when they should be working.
  • Train employees on basic routine security such as not opening emails from unknown senders. This reduces the risk of falling victim to cybercrime and experiencing downtime. Also ensure you’re upgrading your office security on a regular basis to ensure you’re protected against the latest viruses.
  • If you have ongoing problems with staff using the Internet during working hours, install key logger software across your office network. If employees know you will be able to see how many times a day they’re logging into Facebook, they’re far less likely to do it.

It might take a bit or trial and error but once you’ve figured out the technology that’s distracting employees and what’s enabling them to do their job more efficiently, technology really can prove to be a big boost to productivity in the workplace.