As we know, technology has rapidly advanced over the past few years. From chat apps to smartphone applications, there are now tools for almost every need.

Many employers have noticed that workers seem more willing to accept poor quality or low-quality products than ever before. After all, why work hard for something if you don’t believe it will make you happy?

Some even go as far to say that employees expect their employer to dole out such rewards without any effort on their part! It is your responsibility as an employer to show these same dedicated individuals that they are worth of their efforts, but most aren’t able to do so.

So how can workplace technology be improved? By creating an environment where people feel appreciated and needed, of course! Luckily, there are several easy ways to do this. Read on to learn some tips and tricks for improving employee engagement at your company.

Give employees the freedom to choose how they work

how can technology be improved in the workplace

A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about why employers should give their workers mobile phones. Some said it would help them be more productive at work by having easy access to information and resources. Others pointed out that as long as you have proper coverage, it can create an internal team environment where people are constantly communicating with each other.

Some even claimed that giving your staff mobiles is a great way to boost employee morale. But none of these things matter if you don’t let your workers use technology for what they want to do with it.

If you look around most offices today, you’ll see people checking emails on their phone or tablet while sitting at their desk. You’ll also find some going through documents on their device instead of using a desktop computer or laptop.

This isn’t always bad, but it does pose one problem: If someone wants to remain focused on doing something professional, they will need to go through additional steps to achieve this.

Luckily, there are ways to mitigate this. One of those solutions is providing every member of your staff with their own smartphone so they can choose which apps they want and when they want to use them. This not only helps individuals be more efficient, it boosts workplace productivity and efficiency.

Let employees work from home

how can technology be improved in the workplace

With the rise of online shopping and technology making it easy to access information, most people now have very powerful tools for self-education. This is great as we all have access to knowledge, but what happens when you give someone that knowledge?

If you’re lucky, you get someone who uses their new found skill to make more money or improve their career, but more likely than not, people use this opportunity to spend idle time consuming content that makes them feel better about themselves.

Give your staff the option to work from home and watch as they take advantage of these services to distract them. It may be easier said than done, but if you want to see changes in workplace efficiency, start by giving those with power options.

Making the switch towards employee benefits like paid vacation, tuition reimbursement or even free company supplied laptops can help create an environment where professionals need to put in effort to stay connected at work.

Enable work-life balance

how can technology be improved in the workplace

A large part of employee dissatisfaction comes from overworking. Companies want to keep up with the ever-increasing workload, so they hire more staff and increase deadlines.

This can create an environment where employees have little time for their families or other obligations, and it is impossible to give them that time as soon as they need it.

If your company has its annual meeting next month, March, then why not hold it at midnight every night this week? You would save money by holding it later in the year and you’d help most people lead a normal life.

Give those working beyond normal hours the chance to spend time with their loved ones, but make sure it isn’t being done without permission or there are serious consequences for staying away.

There should be no fear of losing one’s job if you ask to take off. Let go of the unnecessary pressure and enjoy your time outside of the workplace while helping others do the same.

Everyone cannot afford to live his or her own life and contribute something to society when he or she doesn’t get enough sleep and/or rest. It goes both ways for employers — if someone wants to come into the office every day until 1 AM, let him or her!

The important thing is to establish clear rules about working hours and ensure everyone knows what is expected. When people feel like they can relax and focus, work will follow.

Invest in your employees

how can technology be improved in the workplace

As mentioned earlier, technology has become part of our daily lives to the extent that we take it for granted. This is why workplace gadgets and tools are increasingly common these days.

Many employers forget how important this technology can be for their business. While having access to email, phone numbers and documents is nice, what really sets apart an efficient workplace toolset is the ability to connect with other people and get things done.

By investing in your staff, you’ll see them use the equipment they have at home more frequently while also encouraging them to go digital with their own devices. This will boost productivity and engagement!

And don’t underestimate the value of giving people praise – even if it’s just saying ‘well done’ after they do something helpful. When was the last time you did that?

We all have different communication styles so make sure you know who does what where before offering help. But when you do offer it, say thank you!

Give details about the task or thing they completed and let them know how much you appreciate it. That kind of acknowledgment goes a long way.

Encourage teamwork

how can technology be improved in the workplace

Teams of people working together is what makes our society function, from small groups talking through conversations to large organizations with departments that work independently.

Technology can play an important role in encouraging teamwork by facilitating communication among individuals and teams. This could be done virtually (e.g., video chat), via mobile apps, or web applications designed for collaboration.

Apps like Slack facilitate internal communications by allowing users to communicate across different areas of your organization. By linking these apps together, you can create interactive teams where everyone has easy access to everything else.

Virtual offices are another way technology can encourage teamwork. Rather than having one individual lead a group of colleagues, they use online software to connect them all under one leader. This removes any barrier to sharing information as there is no physical location, just a computer screen.

How about bringing the workplace outside? Using tools such as Google Hangouts and Zoom allows for asynchronous discussions, which doesn’t require anyone to be present at the same time. This gives employees more freedom over their schedule, while still providing effective communication.

These types of technologies should not be used exclusively for teamwork, but instead integrated into every part of employee life so that it becomes second nature.

Provide a positive work environment

how can technology be improved in the workplace

A healthy workplace has open communication, trust, and respect for one another, as well as clear expectations and commitments.

Technology can play an important role in creating such a culture. For example, you could use technology to keep employees in touch with each other outside of work hours. This creates more connections and opportunities to chat which helps promote teamwork and engagement.

You could also use software to remind people about meetings or assignments, giving them notice so they have time to prepare.

That way, everyone is aware of what’s going on, and no one feels left out or confused.

Overall, technology can help create a strong bond between individuals within your organization.

Use technology to enhance face-to-face meetings

how can technology be improved in the workplace

This will help you reduce overhead, save time, and even improve efficiency of your organization. By replacing some or all of these meeting types with digital ones, you can cut down on travel costs, increase productivity, and streamline operations.

Most people agree that using new technologies in the workplace is a good thing. But how much impact those tools have really depends on what they are used for and who uses them.

For example, if an employee has their own smartphone then they can use it to look up information, access documents, chat with colleagues, and do other things directly from the device instead of having to search for, log into, and pay for separate services like Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365.

This can be expensive unless you negotiate a discount through one of Amazon’s annual Prime Day events!

But why would someone need to do any of those things anyway? Why not just meet in person or talk over the phone? Because sometimes there is no option.

In cases where there IS an alternative, most experts say it makes sense to take advantage of it. Even though staying in touch virtually may cost less, it doesn’t necessarily save money in the long run.

Conduct routine reviews

how can technology be improved in the workplace

As mentioned before, your employer has an obligation to conduct a formal performance review at least once every year. What happens during these meetings varies slightly depending on whether you are given a monthly or quarterly schedule, but overall structure stays about the same.

You get two hours for your meeting with your boss, and it must be held within a month of when it’s scheduled. The time frame depends on how much work your job requires you to do outside of office hours, however.

If there is more than one week between appointments, then the space is enough for just over one hour. If only one day separates events, make sure everyone knows this will be a short meeting.

There is an initial discussion where the manager asks if you feel ready and confident for the next stage of your career. This is always asked at the start of the meeting, even if the person leaving is planning on staying in their current position for awhile.

Next, they ask questions such as what projects you would like to take on, and what opportunities you have wanted to pursue recently. These conversations help them determine your potential at your present workplace and what can be done to boost your profile.

This is also a good chance to discuss any issues you may be having at home or personal life that could potentially affect your work. Your superiors should be informed of anything important to you so they know to watch out for it.

Caroline Shaw is a blogger and social media manager. She enjoys blogging about current events, lifehacks, and her experiences as a millennial working in New York.