Picture this: you're finishing up a project and need one last piece of input from a business contact. You dutifully type up your letter, and stick in in the outgoing mailbox. After a week you receive a letter with the information you need and you finish your project right on time.
For better or for worse, those days are long behind us. Technological advancements have completely changed the day in the life of the average corporate employee. And it's not just deadlines that are affected -- tech has shaped your company culture.
How Technology Shapes Workplace Culture
Today's technology means everyone is accessible at all times. This means shortened work cycles and quicker deadlines.
It also means it's harder for employees to disconnect with work and there are more opportunities for miscommunication.
So it's important for business leaders to create new boundaries and expectations around using technology as a tool rather than a distractor.
When Technology Bridges the Gap
There are countless ways tech advancements have improved workplace culture. An email chain of communication about a project makes it easy to see who has what responsibilities, and who is waiting on whom to get things done.
We all know that a wellness plan is a big factor of corporate culture and there are a ton of great corporate wellness initiatives that now rely on tech advances -- such as the Fit Bit and its online tracking and competitions.
Remote work days and telecommuting also makes a big impact on a company's culture. Offering these kinds of flexible work situations, while being connected virtually can show an appreciation for work-life balance.
When Technology Fails
Company retreats have the magic ability to set the restart button on a lot of things -- and some of that has to do with the (for the most part) lack of technology present.
There's are reason corporate retreats are held at lakeside cabins rather than the middle of the city. The idea is to unplug as much as possible and get back to the basics of what really drives the company.
This is where there is a big disconnect created by technology. And this is where your company culture can suffer. Relying too much on tech communication to make things happen will create a cold culture.
And while the work-from-home lifestyle may jive with your employee, you'll lose some of the in-office banter and camaraderie that occurs when people see each other everyday.
A Technological Compromise
The most important thing to remember is that as technology changes, your corporate culture will have to change along with it.
Use your guiding principles to assess how new technology can benefit your culture.
For example, many companies adopt a no-email Fridays rule. This keeps internal communication face-to-face and allows employees to complete work rather than get bogged down by email. While external communication can still happen via email on these days, having a day to unplug a little allows some companies to be more productive and lets employees connect more regularly.