The digital revolution has taken the world by storm. With new technologies no longer taking years to be released, people have become more accustomed to daily changes in certain technological aspect. Information technology (IT) is one of the areas which has evolved and become engrained in the daily lives of people (Cortada, 2012). The question which seems to emerge in the midst of these changes is the differences in the work among the younger and older generations.
The workplace is one of the areas which have been heavily influenced by the increased IT penetration. Networking in the workplace has massively changed as IT increasingly becomes part of our daily lives. Employees are easily able to network with other people whether they are within or outside working environments or schedule (Fahr, 2011). Devices such as smart phones and platforms such as social networks increase free flow of information.
Telecommuting is the other aspect of work which will differ as the new generation enters the workforce to replace the earlier generations. Telepresence, cloud computing, and web conferencing are some of the technologies which the employees can use to maintain connectivity thus ensure productivity irrespective of their location (Cortada, 2012). This has increased the flexibility and productivity of the younger generation. Organizations have also taken advantage of this change and created an enabling environment which allows employees to make the most out of information technology.
The ability to work remotely has also changed the expectations of the workforce with the mentality of “going to the place of work” being abandoned by the younger generations. Employees are becoming more focused on creating their own schedule rather than fitting into the traditional working hours (Brown et al., 2011). This has created an opportunity for the younger generation to determine a flexible work schedule. The outcome of this change is a generation which values work-life balance as compared to the older generations. Organizations have also been forced to reconsider their work design in order to allow employees make these work-life balance decisions (Fahr, 2011). Consequently, these employees are more likely to be motivated than the older generations.
Globalization has been greatly influenced by the increased relevance of information technology. The spread of IT has enabled organizations to connect with businesses and teams around the world. This has also increased the use of virtual teams with employees reporting to a supervisor or manager who is not necessarily within the same region or country. The opportunities presented by this change include a diverse workforce with different perspectives. This cross-cultural dimension increases the chances of solving problems, overcoming challenges, and develops innovative products (Cortada, 2012). However, the organizations will be faced with the difficulty of training the management to deal with distant diverse teams.
While these advantages are usually overemphasized, information technology can also be a cause of concern for the younger generations. Instant messaging and emails have been observed to bring interruptions during the workday thus reducing productivity and increasing stress (Galluch, Grover & Thatcher, 2015). Employees who deal with functions that are more reliant on this technology have more physical and emotion stress. According to Soylu & Campbell (2012) these employees are exposed to additional liability and can be assisted by the organization through teaching them strategies of coping with stress.
In conclusion, the IT changes and their penetration into human lives will deliver more opportunities than drawbacks. While organizations have been forced to restructure and equip managers with better skills, they have benefited from a more diverse, motivated, and productive workforce. The creativity and performance of employees has been boosted by technological changes given the increased networking, globalization, and work-life balance. Organizations should, therefore, embrace information technology because it brings out the best out of the younger generation.
Brown, C.V., DeHayes, D.W., Hoffer, J.A., Martin, W.E., & Perkins, W.C. (2011). Managing Information Technology (7th Ed.). Prentice Hall.
Cortada, J. W. (2012). The Digital Flood: Diffusion of Information Technology across the United States, Europe, and Asia. New York: Oxford University Press.
Fahr, R. (2011). Job Design and Job Satisfaction – Empirical Evidence for Germany?**. Management Revue, 22(1), 28-33.
Galluch, P. S., Grover, V., & Thatcher, J. B. (2015). Interrupting the Workplace: Examining Stressors in an Information Technology Context. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 16(1), 1-11.
Soylu, A., & Campbell, S. S. (2012). Physical and Emotional Stresses of Technology on Employees in the Workplace. Journal of Employment Counselling, 49(3), 130-141.
The increased penetration of IT into our lives has led to changes in many ways in our lives. IT has changed the way people communicate, travel among many others uses of IT. The impacts of IT have transformed cultures and created a whole new culture of people defined by the age of IT they grew up. Thus, it is likely to hear people being described as old simply because they were born before the computer became famous in people’s homes and offices. The young generation boasts of understanding IT more than the older generation. Interaction among the younger generation is different from the interaction that the earlier generations had. Therefore, it begs the question as to whether the younger generation might perform their work differently than the earlier generation (Robert, 2009).
This is true when it comes to IT. While the earlier generations could not rely heavily on the little advances in IT that were present, the younger generations have perfected the overreliance on IT in their works. This might see them doing things differently as compared to their elderly counterparts. For example, while transactions in an organization followed the traditional ways of completing transactions, it has made it possible to use the gadgets such as phones and internet to conduct transactions. This has increased efficiency in the organizations.
Although developments in IT are usually beneficial to economies, organizations, and individuals, the difference in doing work can bring difficulties in the place of work. The difference is likely to create confusions due to the lack of information on IT for the earlier generations. They maintain their ways of doing things while the younger generation has adopted IT. An opportunity that might arise from the difference is the improvement in efficiency of doing things, hence high quality.
Robert, D. R. (2009). Adventures of an IT Leader. Boston: Havard Business Press.