9 Ways the Internet Has Changed the Workplace (6/9)
In recent years, as workplaces have become more and more digital, employers have been finding remote
workers to be more productive than their in-office counterparts. There are several reasons for this, but one of
them is the increased sense of autonomy people get when they are working remotely.
Essentially, when people are left to work remotely, they are freed from much of the stress and pressure of an
office, and because of this, they end up engaging more with their work.
No boss is hounding them, asking them every step of the way how things are going and what the plan is, and this
helps things go more smoothly. Plus, when trusted to work on a project from home without the direct oversight of
a boss, this demonstrates a level of trust between the employee and their employer, which typically results in a
stronger connection to the work, higher productivity, and deeper cultural buy-in.
Of course, the other side of this means you need to be as disciplined as ever if you want to succeed in the digital
workplace. Not being in the office relieves you of constant pressure to work, and this can cause some to
procrastinate and leave too much work for the last minute. As a result, the internet has made learning to prioritize an essential skill in today’s workplace. If you can’t independently manage your time and break up your work, it’s going to be difficult for you to succeed. However,
when you can make progress in these areas, work will likely become more interesting and engaging, which we
can all agree is a good thing.
Work is not only how we earn a living, but it’s also one of the ways we find meaning in life and grow as individuals.
Long gone are the days of being happy with a job that gives you just good pay and benefits. Instead, our jobs
must provide us with opportunities to better ourselves, so much so that a lack of professional development
opportunities is one of the leading reasons why people decide to change jobs.
In general, this is nothing new. However, what is new is how we learn at work. eLearning has become a major
industry, and companies that make use of it find it has a significant impact on productivity and company
success. This has made it easier than ever for people to enroll in courses, either through a company or online, and
help take their career to the next step.
Of course, this also means that continuing your education will be expected of you. After all, if it’s so easy and
there are so many ways to learn, why wouldn’t you want to partake? Choosing not to could reflect poorly on your
work ethic and dedication, which could make it harder to secure promotions and other accolades.
The internet has also changed the types of jobs available to us. Because it makes it easier to hire and work with
people from all over the world, freelancing and independent contract work has become more and more normal.
This works out for both sides because employees aren’t tied down to one company and employers don’t need to
assume some of the more burdensome costs associated with hiring people, such as healthcare, social security,
worker’s compensation, etc. Freelancers have been around for some time, but the internet has made it much easier for people to find full-time
work as a freelancer, and this is having a ripple effect in the rest of the labor market. For example, in some
industries, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find “full-time” work because there are so many freelancers
and companies who stand to gain so much by hiring freelancers.
And we can expect freelance work to continue to impact the economy, especially since most experts predict
the workforce will be at least 50 percent freelance in the coming years.
Even if you are not a freelancer, there is a good chance you will be working with one or many on the various
projects you’re tasked with completing. This presents a unique challenge because you will need to find a way to
get these “outsiders” to blend in with your company culture. This might mean providing access to some programs
and software, but you need to be careful because there might be restrictions as to what external people can see
or do within the company.
Lastly, the internet has made it so that while we are at work we are also a line of defense against cybercrime.
Hacking has been a concern for many years, but it’s an even bigger risk now because so much more is online.
Plus, since nearly every person in a company represents a potential weak link in the company’s defense, it’s
essential all employees know how to detect threats and what to do if and when something does happen.
All this means is that the basic level of computer knowledge required for most jobs is higher than it’s ever been
before. Not everyone needs to be a programmer, but you do need to have a working knowledge of the risks
your company faces and some basic skills that will allow you to react if necessary. This was not a thing even just
ten years ago, but the accelerated rate of change brought on by the internet has made it a requirement for
nearly all jobs available today.
These nine ways the internet has changed the workplace represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to
the way the internet has impacted how we do business. But as you can see, these changes have had a profound
impact on how we do our jobs, and they remind us of how much more will be changed as the world advances
even more. And as we move forward and further embrace the power of the internet, we will have to keep an
eye on additional changes to the way we do things so that we can take full advantage of everything the internet
has to offer.