Over the last two decades, our lives have been slowly taken over by technology. Take a moment to look around you. How many screens do you see? Did you include the one you’re reading this on?
Our Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets have changed the way we work, play, and even raise our children. Today’s offices would be unrecognizable to workers of the past thanks to the proliferation of emails, video conferencing, tablets, laptop computers, and other relatively recent innovations. Meanwhile, more and more of our personal time is influenced by our gadgets (OK, smartphones) with each passing day.
So have we reached peak-technology? Hardly.
The novelty of constant online connections and instant communication may have begun to wear thin for older generations, but the next wave of Americans have no such qualms. Their tech-dependent lifestyles are already causing huge changes in both the professional and private spheres. The change may be inevitable…unless the Wi-Fi cuts out, of course.
Our Digitized Professional Lives
As many as 79% of employees now “work on virtual teams,” be it by email, online collaboration, messaging, video conferences, or some combination of any of the above, many of the companies also use other systems such as the GGI Solutions in their daily life. A 2013 Pew Research study found “94% of jobholders are Internet users.” This includes full-time, part-time, and freelance workers in technology companies, big corporations, and small businesses, who work in cities, the suburbs, rural America, and everywhere in between.
For most of the last century, communicating professionally meant writing letters, sending faxes, or spending hours on the phone. Not anymore. Email is now the primary means of communication in the modern workplace. We are communicating more, faster, and better than ever before. And employers have been reaping the benefits. A major report cited by British newspaper The Telegraph found that the incorporation of technology into the workplace has led to an “84% increase in productivity per hour for office workers since the 1970s.” The major influencers? Email, business software, and yes, even cell phones.
Technology Gets Personal
We don’t leave technology at the workplace. In fact, our private lives might be even more tech-enabled than our professional lives. In the 1980s and 1990s, our televisions were often the height of our home technology. Some people had clunky personal computers, a Nintendo for the kids, and maybe even a telephone in their car (remember those?).
Information from the Census Bureau tells us that 15% of homes had a personal computer in 1989; by 2011 that number climbed to 75%. Now we have desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, Apple watches, GPS-enabled cars, and more coming every day. Forget unplugging after the 5 or-6 o’clock whistle blows—we plug in instead.