Having worked abroad for a year and a half, I can easily notice the difference in the adoption of technology in the workplace. The use of collaborative technology, such as video conferencing was a matter of conducting your daily work. Meetings would be held in virtual rooms, personal desktop endpoints with high quality cameras and speakers would allow employees to have meetings, with life size video. If phones rang for too long, calls would be automatically transferred to one’s mobile so no customer call would be missed. Technology was relentless, there was no escape from it.
In Dhaka, technology is seeping in to our daily lives and at work but at a much slower rate. Meetings are sometimes conducted via video conferencing but the cultural norms way heavier than the convenience of meeting via the Internet. It’s customary to physically go meet your clients or ‘important’ people. The general consensus still remains to be that face-to-face meetings are more impactful and lead to more successful follow-ups. This opinion however remains as such because CXO’s and decision makers are yet to experience the true immersive capabilities of collaborative technology.
Even if the bandwidth issues and cost of endpoints and implementations are resolved, the question still remains, are the people in Bangladesh ready to use technology? Not just technology, but collaborative technology that breaks the social and cultural norms that have been developed over centuries. Can we really convince people to evolve into becoming a much faster and efficient workforce with the opportunity cost being that age-old traditions would have to go? Would the ‘important’ people realize that meeting via video wouldn’t make them any less important? Could management trust employees to work from home?
While the idea may seem too far-fetched and ‘change inducing’, there is still hope in Gen Y bringing some more collaborative technology to the workplace. Given that they have had a chance to grow up with more technology than their parents and have been exposed from a younger age, they are likely to expect more technology adoption in the workplace. Younger entrepreneurs in the market place means they are also likely to set up ‘smarter’ work environments, with young and fresh ideas of working. But it doesn’t mean there is no place for older generations in the office. They have had to adapt to changes beyond belief. The fact that they have slowly moved away from pen and paper and are relying on technology means they are also open to change. It may take a bit longer for them to adjust to the change but the change comes, slowly but surely. Experienced professionals in the workplace provides benefits outside of technology adoption. They allow the human element to remain, something we cannot cope without.
Technology Vs Human Touch. We can never think of it that way – they have to work hand in hand. We have no other choice. With traffic being one of this city’s biggest disabilities, where commuters have to spend hours getting to and back from work, there is nothing apart of technology that can pave the way to a greener and efficient country. On the other hand, without technology, we have to work in the confines of our offices, cities and country. We won’t have the chance to work with talented individuals as easily. Technology and people. One should never replace another, a symbiosis must be established.
We cannot stop until we find ways of utilizing our time better. Time is precious, time is money. Our lives should be spent making the world a better place rather than waiting in gridlocked roads questioning our existence.