Robots, Rob-nots!

23 January


Defining the business limitations of technology


Embracing the right technology can supercharge our effectiveness and efficiency, turning tasks that used to feel like climbing mountains into a walk in the digital park. However, we'd rather not find ourselves in a situation where the coffee machine holds more sway than the people in the office.

Hold on to your floppy disks (if you can still find them), because amidst this digital circus, it's high time we reminded ourselves that humans are more than just 'Ctrl+C' and 'Ctrl+V' enthusiasts! Let's dive into some of the limitations of technology in the workplace.


Implementing and maintaining technology can be expensive. In New Zealand workers lose a day every week to timewasting activities, meaning New Zealand businesses are throwing away $19 billion a year according to an Ernst & Young study. If the technology claims are too good to be true…it probably is. We want technology worth its weight in gold, not a fancy coffee maker that also doubles as a mood-lighting disco ball.


Adapting to Tools
Ah, technology – our frenemy! It's like that ever-changing puzzle piece that we need to fit into our work lives. Technology evolves rapidly, introducing new tools and systems at a pace that can sometimes make our heads spin. This constant change can be a double-edged sword, as it can lead to resistance, frustration, or even job insecurity among employees who feel overwhelmed by the relentless march of technological innovation.

It changes faster than you can say "update required," and adapting to this ever-evolving landscape can be akin to trying to catch a speeding train with your shoelaces tied together. Accept that the “Oops, I just sent the entire company an emoji instead of a report" moments will happen during times of change. It's part of the grand tech-adventure we're on.

Let’s not forget about the learning curve. Just like climbing a mountain or mastering a new dance move, employees may require some time to learn and adapt to these new technologies. Sure, it can affect productivity during the transition period, but hey, every successful dance starts with a few awkward steps, right? So, let's cut ourselves some slack, share our tech tips and tricks, and make this journey of adaptation as smooth and enjoyable as possible.


Creativity and Innovation
You see, technology has a knack for crunching numbers like a math whiz but struggles when it's time to crack a joke – it's the kind of humor you'd expect from a dictionary. While it's a champ at helping us make data-driven decisions, it's about as imaginative as a brick wall when it comes to thinking outside the box and conjuring up crazy ideas.

That's where humans shine, armed with creativity, intuition, and minds that can wander off the beaten path. So, let's be the spark of wild, out-of-this-world ideas – who knows, one of those brainstormed gems might just be the next big thing!


Customer Experiences
Technology undoubtedly has its merits, but it falls short when it comes to offering a customer a genuine, comforting connection during moments of distress. On the flip side, human customer service representatives excel at providing that much-needed personal touch.

Loyalty in customer relationships is like the secret sauce of success in the business world. It's the magic ingredient that keeps customers coming back, and it's nurtured through genuine human interactions.

Unlike humans who can forge bonds, understand unique needs, and offer tailored solutions, technology, in all its brilliance, remains steadfastly loyal to its algorithms and codes. It doesn't possess the ability to empathize or create emotional connections.

I’d invite you to always keep in mind that customers are not merely entries on a data spreadsheet; they are real people with feelings, experiences, and expectations. Customers (and all humans, in fact) are made up of different “biology, biographies, behaviors, and backstories” (Brenè Brown, Atlas of the Heart). By infusing our interactions with empathy, we can create connections that transcend the digital realm and ensure that every customer feels genuinely valued and heard. Because loyalty is the currency that tech simply cannot buy, and it's the key to retaining and attracting customers in today's competitive landscape.


Downtime and Maintenance
Technology, as fantastic as it is, often demands its due share of attention in the form of regular maintenance and can occasionally experience downtime due to technical hiccups. Imagine you're in the thick of a crucial video call, discussing game-changing strategies with your team or presenting a groundbreaking project to a client. And just when the momentum is at its peak, your computer decides it's the perfect moment for a surprise self-update. It's like your laptop took a page from Shakespeare and thought, "To update or not to update, that is the question."

We've all been there, haven't we? In those moments, we're faced with a decision: rage against the digital machine or embrace the downtime. But here's the deal – while technology's breather might be the universe's way of nudging us to take an impromptu coffee break and bask in the simple joys of life, it can also disrupt the carefully woven fabric of productivity. These interruptions can jolt us out of the flow, that state of focused immersion where ideas flow seamlessly, and tasks are completed efficiently.

Technology offers countless benefits. It has made many tasks effortless for countless organizations around the world. But it is essential to strike a balance between automation and human intervention in the workplace. Companies should recognize the limitations of technology and consider where human skills, judgment, and empathy are irreplaceable. An integrated approach that leverages technology to enhance human capabilities and fosters a supportive, adaptable work environment is often the most effective way to achieve business success while serving customers and employees effectively.


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This piece was written by Dallas Jackson, an accomplished business transformation coach and SoftEd trainer.

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