The world of work has changed immeasurably in the past century. Around 100 years ago, working conditions were incredibly poor – with far longer hours, minimal safety measures, and many more deaths on the job. It’s hard to believe we’ve come this far this quickly, but the fact is that workers are far happier in their roles in the modern era, and we have the technology to thank for that. Here are some of the ways that modern technology is keeping workers happy and motivated in their jobs.
Computers, and the software that they run, revolutionized work in the latter half of the last century. For the first time, employees could use digital systems to input data and make processes far speedier than the work of manual clerks. And now that we’re in the twenty-first century, we’re experiencing another revolution – in automation.
But how does automation technology make workers happier – isn’t it supposed to be evil, taking away jobs from people who need them the most? In the modern era, that’s no longer the case: automation is simply displacing jobs, helping those who are unhappy in boring, repetitive jobs move upwards in the value chain, performing more interesting and vital work for their organization. It’s this quality of work related to workers’ quality of life that’s so important in the modern age.
Another huge change that’s swept the world in recent decades is our ability and responsibility to manage workers – not only in terms of keeping them on-task but also in keeping them happy and satisfied. In large organizations, workers were once fairly anonymous, with no career progression plan and, often, little to work towards. It has taken new forms of management, and new HR software to base that management upon, to really thrust workers’ wellbeing into the spotlight.
Since managers and HR professionals have been better able to track their employees – from hiring to retiring – they’ve been able to make small but significant interventions in the lives of their workers, ensuring that annual leave is granted, workplace issues are responded to promptly, and workers feel cared for and valued.
Finally, much has been made of the rise of wearable in the modern world. It’s something that we’ve only really seen take off in the past five years or so, with the likes of the Apple Watch. But now, there are dozens of firms making ever-more accurate and interesting wearables to help those wearing them monitor not only their steps and their pulse but more general aspects of their health.
It’s no surprise that some companies are giving their workers a free wearable – these devices can help them self-monitor when they’re ill and can encourage them to get better sleep each night. Productivity is important in the workplace, but that translates down to employee health, happiness, and wellbeing. So wearables are a win-win for companies looking for healthy and happy workers in their roles.
Technology will continue to improve workers’ lives in the future, just as it has in the past handful of decades up to the present day.