Has technology made us more or less efficient? Some people say that it detracts from today’s quality of life and that too much technology is a bad thing, while others are delighted with the production of each and every new piece of technology that comes along and happily immerse themselves in it daily.
One definite advantage to the impact that small hand-held devices have brought into our lives is the ability to process paperwork, make phone calls, and send and receive documents, letters and messages instantly and from almost anywhere, at any time. In a mere twenty to thirty years we have gone from having to be in the office to perform these actions to being completely unencumbered by such considerations and are now able to work while commuting, out in a park or even from home.
All of which introduces another, very big, positive change that technology has brought into our lives; the ability to work from home. Many companies are beginning to allow employees to work from home some of the time; careful arrangement of work schedules means that employees can share a desk and other resources and sometimes, depending on the nature of the business employees can work entirely from home. A large number of new companies are starting up, starting small and entirely based at a residence. The internet allows these businesses to provide a professional façade to attract the trust of customers; and a well-designed website can more-or-less run itself, selling products, accepting payments, and monitoring stock levels and so forth, meaning that the novice entrepreneur can devote all his time to sourcing excellent products at good prices and ensure that the physical side of the business, for example, product packaging and delivery, are well looked after.
Technology can also help keep our facts and figures up to date. Instant access around the clock to bank accounts and other financial information keep us well aware of how our finances stand, which is very useful over bank holiday weekends when we might have otherwise overspent. Facilities such as PayPal, the entirely online bank, make overseas payments to anywhere, in any currency much easier than the old way of having to call into your bank and filling in forms requesting the transfer to be actioned, with the attendant delays and expenses incurred.
On a personal level technology can remind us of appointments and remember all the important events and deadlines that come up on both a personal and a business level, by chiming an alarm sound. One simple device, possibly even voice operated to save us the bother of imputing the data ‘manually’, has replaced diaries and calendars which relied upon us checking them to be effective.
To-do lists are also ready to go when we need them and can easily be adjusted and amended as needed. Simply putting all the items needing our attention on one device has saved us from the hassle of many slips of paper and notebook pages which were easily smudged, lost or torn, losing time and causing immense frustration.
The world of apps, or applications, has provided much efficiency to users. Downloadable maps, available at the press of a button or two, instant GPS allowing us to find our way quickly to the nearest ATM, restaurant or train station has saved vast amounts of time and frustration. With over 500 000 apps available online (some very useful, others more marginally so) it is possible to find something in the relevant app market to satisfy almost any need, no matter how specific or diverse.
Those people who are negatively inclined towards technology and its insidious advance into all sectors of life do have one point – there is too much out there. While looking for an accurate measuring app for instance, it is all too easy to be distracted by tempting games and useful-seeming apps that we do not really need, and before we know it we have spent 2 hours browsing through all the available software, when we should have been at our appointment 20 minutes ago.
Another bone of contention is the very way technology has taken over our lives, leaving little time, room or tolerance for those who prefer not to use technology at all.
Those negative points aside, I cannot help but feel that technology has made us more efficient overall. The fact that we have, almost in unison with technological advances, raised our expectations of what work we can be expected to perform in a day should not be permitted to detract from the many ways technology has proved useful in making us all more efficient.
Sources: enterpriseefficiency.com; smarta.com; asianefficiency.com