GUEST POST: How Tech Creates Add’l Challenges in Today’s Workplace

Today we have a guest blogger at The Employer Handbook. It’s Noah Kovacs. Noah has over ten years experience in the legal field. He has since retired early and enjoys blogging about small-business law, legal marketing, and everything in between. He recently purchased his first cabin and spends his free time remodeling its kitchen for his family. Twitter: @NoahKovacs

(Want to guest blog at The Employer Handbook? Email me).

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Every day we are witness to technological advancements that improve our lives. However, technology has changed the dynamics of the workplace, and often has an impact on many job-related issues. This raises the question of whether current laws and regulations reflect the changes in the way we communicate and perform. I’ll discuss a few of the challenges new technology creates within the employment arena.

Workplace Privacy Issues
When we talk about technology in the workplace, we can’t leave out the issue of privacy–or lack thereof. Big corporations and even small businesses spend millions of dollars a year ensuring that their privacy policies keep up with the times. New methods of monitoring and surveillance of employees’ communications and on-the-job activities, has led to privacy concerns. An employee may feel as though their rights to privacy may be infringed, and rightfully so. Their each and every action while on company devices is continuously watched over. Not to worry, though. There is one crucial element that ensures all parties involved are protected: transparency.

So, not only do employers need to create and implement policies regarding workplace privacy, they must also clearly convey their intentions to their employees. They must do so by training workers online, in-person through seminars, or with written statement. If employers decide to not train their staff and a privacy-related litigation arises, the company may face serious legal repercussions.

Ergonomic Issues
As technology has improved some aspects of our jobs, in many cases it causes ergonomic issues. Sitting at a desk in front of a new advanced computer may make it easier for you to communicate with your peers and clients; but it may also cause serious health and ergonomic problems. For example, if an employee uses his or her computer for long periods of time, they may experience several issues like elbow and wrist discomfort, eye strain, back pain, among other things. These issues can not only cause significant health issues to the employee but they can also cost the employer thousands of dollars in insurance fees and create inefficiencies in the workplace.

Let’s not go pointing our fingers at technology. Just as it has created issues, it has also solved them. Some sectors have used technology to prevent ergonomic problems while increasing productivity and job performance. With every new development, one thing is for sure: companies and employers must keep in mind that rules and regulations must be updated and formulated to keep pace with new technology.

Demand for Higher Skills
Qualifications for jobs have dramatically changed in the last twenty years. Among the changes: a demand for higher-skilled employees. A lack of computer knowledge can be detriment to a job-seeker. According to the United States Department of Labor, “Where strength and manual dexterity used to be enough to ensure employment and a comfortable standard of living, more jobs now and in the future will require verbal and mathematical, as well as organizational and interpersonal skills.

It’s important that we understand the implications of advanced technology, but at the same time, in order to compete in the workplace, we must embrace technology. It can sometimes be a difficult balance, but it is one that is necessary for employers and employees alike. The employers must take the time and consideration to protect their businesses and their workers by implementing policies, and workers need to understand the consequences of non-compliance.

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
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