The advancement in technology has improved our lives in many ways. We are better connected and better informed than ever before. Many aspects of life have been made more efficient, faster and more convenient. In the workplace, technology has allowed us to work in new ways that weren’t possible in the past and our work location is no longer an issue.
However, technology has also had detrimental impacts on our lives, the environment and in the workplace. For example, smartphones have made it more difficult for people to separate their jobs from their personal lives, and being always accessible often comes at the expense of work-life balance. But now, various changes in our workspaces, using design and technology, could actually help save our environment and provide us with a better balance between our work and personal lives.
Sustainable design in the workplace
Our planet is feeling the full effects of climate change. We are witnessing an increasing number of extreme weather events, our sea levels are rising, ice caps are melting and there has been a rise in animal extinction rates. All this, coupled with an expanding world population is putting a strain on our natural resources. In response to this, there is a growing trend towards businesses adapting to sustainable design in the workplace. They are helping our environment by choosing more sustainable materials, up cycling products, using water filters and installing indoor air purifying systems. There are even easier ways and tips to implement sustainable design, which you can find out more about here. Businesses are finding that they are not just lowering energy consumption and material costs, but in many cases, are providing a highly aesthetically pleasing and comfortable environment to work in.
Technology and work-life balance
Technology has made us more accessible than ever before. According to a Workplace Trends study, “65% of employees say that their managers expect them to be reachable outside of the office.” Such accessibility can be taken advantage of and affect the personal lives of many. However technology has also provided more flexibility, with research from Accenture finding that 77% of professionals believe technology enables them to have more flexibility in their schedules. It has made it easier than ever to work remotely, by freelancing or perhaps working from co-working spaces outwith the traditional office. This is an organisational structure that has been becoming increasingly popular in recent years, with positive results through increased employee satisfaction, productivity and retention. This shows that the same technology that often complicates our lives can also relieve the pressures we feel.
Technology and our environment
New developments in technology are providing many different industries with increased efficiency. The driving force behind many technologies is sustainability. This is improving businesses and maximising their resources. Technology can also help us to consume less in the long run. Digitisation has replaced our physical things with digital versions. This translates to fewer resources used to make things and less energy used to manufacture and transport them. We also consume less through the consolidation of different things into one gadget. However, these advances won’t help our environment long-term if our behaviour is still one of over consumption.
The future of sustainability and technology
Prevention is key and scientists are continuing to develop technology in an attempt to prevent environmental disasters and the extinction of species. In the end, it's still up to us how we use technologies to their full potential and how much we continue to consume. We can choose to let technology control our quality of life in our day-to-day lives, in our workplaces, and our environment, or we can be more thoughtful and use the advancements in technology to save our environment and improve on the amount we consume. Technology can help balance our work and personal lives more effectively, providing us with more flexibility. These improvements in work-life balance, coupled with more businesses implementing sustainable design, is helping our future to look a little brighter for both our workspaces and our environment.
Fiona Murray is a professional blogger who writes for UrbanServicedOffice, a thoughtfully designed and eco-friendly workspace, where the boundaries of work and life meet.