Currently, technology is outpacing the rate at which it is being applied to real-life business situations in corporate America. Much more needs to be done to ensure that we are getting the most out of the technology we have. Below are some suggestions as to how we can bridge the gap.
1. Make better use of the computers and software already in place.
Companies continually upgrade their computing capabilities without giving much consideration on what they can keep. All too often, money is simply thrown at information technology due to the fact that management, all the way up to the executive level, think that more computing power and better software will resolve all of their issues. Before new computers and software are purchased, a serious look should be taken as to how the current computers and software are used. A lot of times, a few changes in execution are all that is needed.
Obviously, there are times when new computers and software are needed, but if upgrades in both hardware and software are done correctly, things should last longer and the company will get more for its information technology money.
2. Laptops should be the new standard.
In all of my jobs thus far, I’ve had a stationary desktop in a traditional creativity-sucking cubicle. If most employees had laptops, the need to printing out a lot of information would go away, cutting down on astronomical faxing, printing, and copying costs. How nice would it be if employees simply brought their laptops to meetings? It used to be that desktops were much cheaper and that companies had to worry about employees taking laptops. It is now much cheaper to buy a basic laptop rather than a desktop system. In addition, if laptops are properly tagged, they won’t leave the premises.
3. Flexible hours, job sharing, and telecommuting need to be more common.
These programs aren’t just concessions for employees, they’ve been proven to increase productivity and increase job satisfaction. It is time that we let go of the idea that simply being present equates to work being accomplished.
4. The old concept of time-in equals amount of work accomplished needs to be reexamined.
This goes hand and hand with #3, but I can’t stress it enough. People need to be evaluated on how much they accomplish, how much actual work they do, not just on whether or not the put in their 50 hours for the week. We need to make this fundamental change as a society if we are going to truly get ahead.
5. Employers need to have more respect for their low-level employees.
In most business, the customer’s only human interaction with the company is with the lowest level employees. As a result, they have an important role to play in the success of the business. They should be rewarded properly and be treated with respect.
If just some of these changes were implemented, corporate America would go a long way in reclaiming its tarnished reputation. As it is now, American business is tied up in bureaucracy, which has completely stifled innovation.