How Technological Change Affects the Productivity of Labor

technological change affects the productivity of labor

There is an ‘instant’ feeling to so much of what we do and expect to be done in life that this has kind of clouded the way we interact with one another. For example, if we receive an email, the sender expects an instant reply and if we don’t reply within an often very narrow time frame, the sender will often move on. ‘Instant’ is a two way street, so while we have come to expect things to happen immediately, we often hate it when people want something right this minute. There is a danger that technological change affects the productivity of labor and that it could become a big problem in the near-future.

This insatiable need for the ‘instant’ has arguably led to a decrease in the overall attention span of many people. We no longer focus on one thing and are constantly multi-tasking. Think of the last time you went out for a team lunch, what was the conversation like? More than likely you were sat around a table, talking for about five minutes before almost everyone resorted to looking at their phones, while kind of listening. Beyond that, think of the last time you had to wait for something, anything. If you’re like a lot of people, you probably mumbled some comment or question as to why it was taking so long.

This instant, multitasking, relatively impatient lifestyle has started to really affect many us in negative ways. For example, looking at a forum post with over three pages of entries, most people will read the first few visible posts and then skip to the end and read the last post. If the post contains lots of text, most people bust out the TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) and skip most of the information, potentially missing the most important parts.

If this was on an important sales contract and you skipped over the section that detailed how your company would be compensated because you just didn’t have the time or patience to read it, you could irreparably harm your business, simply because you didn’t feel like reading a few extra paragraphs.

Before you go throwing the computer out the window – many businesses simply can’t afford to get rid of it, or can’t operate without it – you should take a step back and track how you utilize technology in your daily life. Look for gadgets, devices and even websites that distract you and take steps to decrease their use. Using a timer with a set amount of time during which you concentrate on work, and another with a smaller amount of time for breaks could be a real big help.

There are thousands of other ways you can increase your productivity, regardless of your reliance on technology. Which do you find work for you? Let us know.

2013 is Here, Time to Buy Tech

2013 is here time to buy tech

It’s January and you know what that means? That’s right, it’s the perfect time to buy new technology for the office.

This would have been a fairly easy task 10 years ago, as choice was considerably more limited. Now there are so many different kinds of technological devices that it can be hard to pick what will be best for your employees. Have no fear, we are here to help.

When shopping for new technology it’s beneficial to know what types of devices are out there and what circumstances they are ideal for. Below is a list of the major categories of technical devices available.

Thin Client

Thin clients are a type of computer where the computing power is stored on a server. On an employee’s desk there will usually be a monitor, mouse and keyboard that they use to access the system – hosted on the server. These systems are typically low power, but are generally cheap to run and maintain. Any updates are done on the server and are instantly accessible to all users. The beauty of thin clients is that the servers don’t have to be in your office. They can be in another location, managed by another company – where everything runs in the cloud. Because of this, thin clients are becoming an increasingly popular option.

Due to shared resources, thin clients are ideal for positions that only require minimal computing power. For example: retail operations, restaurants, sales departments, finance departments, etc. For positions that rely on computer processing power, use programs like CAD, or use legacy systems thin clients aren’t a good choice.

Desktops

Desktops are the standard in the majority of offices mainly because they offer solid computing power and systems meet the needs of a wide variety of budgets and needs. Desktops can take up space and businesses usually require a solid management plan to ensure every desktop is secure and using the same software.

Desktops are ideal for employees that need computing power, or who have resource intensive roles e.g., engineers who use CAD, designers who use Photoshop Suite, etc. Desktops are not a good solution for employees who are out of the office lots, or if you have limited physical space.

Laptops

Laptops are portable, relatively cheap and can do nearly everything a desktop can. Their size means they are popular with mobile employees, e.g., salespeople, franchise owners, board members, etc. While laptops can handle many of the same tasks as their larger cousins, they do struggle with multi-tasking. If you need to have more than one window or program open it can be annoying having to constantly switch.

Tablets

The iPad has shown that the tablet is here to stay, with some companies even being able to do away with the laptop. Like the bigger laptop, tablets are designed to be mobile and are ideal for keeping in touch with the office while on the road. They are perfect for employees who give lots of presentations or need to multi-task. Where they lack is in document creation and editing. While this can be done on tablets, it just takes time and a whole lot of patience.

If you have a mobile workforce that doesn’t need to change documents on a regular basis e.g., salespeople at trade shows, tablets are a great choice.

Smartphones

It’s pretty clear that the smartphone is ideal for nearly every company. Users can check and reply to email, look at most files and many have even started to use it as their main phone. If you have employees that need to be connected to the office e.g., doctors or support staff, the smartphone is a great way for them to stay in touch while not having to be in the office.

With the sheer number of devices and uses, you can guarantee that different positions will require/benefit from different tools, and you should take this into account when looking to buy new devices. The other thing that works well is to adopt a multiple device scheme where users have complementary devices. For example, you can have one desktop for two sales staff who also have a tablet. They can use the tablet while out of the office and the desktop for heavier tasks when in the office.

The key here is to pick devices that will best complement your employees, and allow them to be productive wherever they may be. If you’re looking to purchase new devices for your office this holiday season, why not contact us? We may have the perfect solution for you.

One in Three Mission Critical Apps Currently in the Cloud, Says Survey

benefits of using cloud servers

Research from identity management provider SailPoint has revealed that US and UK based IT leaders see one in three mission critical apps as currently in the cloud, with that figure rising sharply by 2015.

The Market Pulse Survey of 400 IT and business leaders, which defined ‘mission critical’ as apps mainly focused on storage, file-sharing and communications, forecast that the number is expected to grow to one in two in three years.

The figures differed slightly dependent on which side of the Atlantic respondents were based – 32% in the US compared to 30% in the UK for cloudy mission critical apps now – but the consensus was the same.

Another element of the research centred on pain points with moving to the cloud, with the usual suspects present.

Security was the top risk for 73% of US and 74% of UK-based respondents, with compliance and (56% US, 52% UK) and uptime and performance (48% US, 42% UK) rounding off the top three.

With security still a high risk, another facet of the research considering what the IT leaders saw as ‘high-risk data’ in the cloud – and how much they were prepared to put into it – was illuminating.

The figures were again very similar. Just over one in three (35% US, 36% UK) agreed that some of the data they were storing in the cloud was high risk, as opposed to half (50% US, 49% UK) who were adamantly against the gamble.

Worryingly, 15% on both sides were not sure as they had no way of knowing if sensitive data is stored in the cloud at all.

Security is still top of mind when discussing a move to the cloud. Recent Stratsec research inferred that some cloud providers were unable to stop malicious attacks, whilst security was the number one initiative when selecting a provider with both cloud and non-cloud users in a recent Raconteur Media paper.

The fact that nearly half of those polled stated availability was an issue is significant, especially when considering Forrester’s 2013 cloud forecasts – one of which stating that cloud SLAs will become less important.

Roughly one in three survey respondents accessed their company’s cloud system on a mobile device (35% US, 30% UK). Understandably, these figures are lower than the standard email and intranet, but as the report notes: “Business users are increasingly using their devices for a broader range of work activities than ever before”.

This also seems to fit in with another Forrester prediction: the continued convergence of cloud and mobile, so expect higher figures for SailPoint’s 2013 Market Pulse Survey.