- Workers are “shut out” of key technology decisions.
- Tech could “widen existing inequalities” and now impacts 80 per cent of jobs.
- Flexible workspaces should ensure members are stakeholders for workspace tech.
However, research reveals that many employees are being “shut out” of decisions about new technology in their workplaces. During a recent study, three-fifths of employees claimed their organisation does not give them an opportunity to influence how new technology is used.
The report from the UK’s Commission on Workers and Technology also revealed that the technologies introduced in workplaces over the last five years have had an impact on 80 per cent of roles. More than half of the respondents claim there has been either ‘a fair amount’ or ‘a great deal’ of impact.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chaired the commission that wrote the report, warned “that such changes could widen existing inequalities – the report cited studies showing that people without a degree do almost all the jobs at high risk of automation,” according to a report in The Independent.
A separate study found only fifty per cent of staff believe their employer is open and upfront with them.
Keeping workers out of the loop can also make them feel “frustrated and powerless”, according to the study. This ethos is at clear odds with the democratised environment and close community ties that many coworking spaces are careful to foster.
So, how can flexible workspaces ensure their members’ voices are heard when you decide what tech to implement at your space?
The obvious answer is to ask. A simple survey could help you interpret what tech your community values and why — helping you understand what they want to get out of a workspace.
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You may also want to evaluate your current workspace technologies and rank your priorities for any new solutions you’re investigating. Functionality and cost are both important, but never undervalue the importance of compatibility with your members.
When you do launch a new technology, openly communicate this change with your members, highlighting the benefits and explaining the reasons behind the change. Full transparency is a must when introducing any new workspace technologies to maintain trust with your community.
Also, make sure you offer plenty of support and continually evaluate your community’s reaction to any new technologies – and be prepared to pull the plug if your latest innovation is unpopular with your members.
But you shouldn’t expect a negative response. The report from the Commission on Workers and Technology also reveals the majority of workers are positive about technology change, with individual respondents from a range of industries claiming tech has improved their job quality.
Natural language processing and machine learning can also help you extract information from a wide range of member sources to gather valuable knowledge. Combined with big data analytics, technology can help you make better, data-driven decisions for your space, according to Gartner.
Your workspace should also embrace “silo buster” solutions that “take advantage of collaborative tools to drive ideation, crowdsourcing, hackathons, etc., beyond traditional teams and organisations structures,” according to Gartner.
In fact, you could give your members even more freedom to play with your workspace tech by deploying a “hackers bench”. The Gartner report explains: “With new codeless programming tools, employees can develop and integrate their own applications. IT can lead this effort by creating a sandbox, base guidelines and communities, and provide lightweight support.”
In short, technology should always empower your workspace community. Which is why it’s important to ensure your members are also key stakeholders in your workspace technology.Share this article