The new world of work continues to evolve. Companies are testing different mixes of virtual and in-person environments, seeking equilibrium between the needs of the business and those of their employees.
Driven by market and resource competition, our dependence on technology, including virtual communication, keeps growing. Technology’s inevitable progress facilitates ever-improving productivity, versatility, and innovation. But together with these benefits, each technological advance also delivers negative consequences.
Right now, while we’re learning how to best leverage a dynamic, technology-driven economy to create value for customers, our business, and other key stakeholders, I’m reminded of John Naisbitt’s (‘Megatrends’) High Tech-High Touch prediction. John surmised that the more dependent we become on technology, the greater will be our need to gather, to experience human touch.
Amidst the experiments with different workplace models, some organizations are experiencing this phenomenon. Specifically, two elements that rely on the energy of personal, communal interaction – culture and strategy conception – have been weakened by the lack of regular in-person engagement.
So as our reliance on technology expands, will employees increasingly yearn for a stronger personal connection with their work associates and culture? People want to feel that they are part of a successful and important team; many are seeking opportunities to make a difference and grow.
Technology is a necessity that enables progress, but it can’t fully replicate the prevailing human need to belong, to care, and to be valued. Nor can technology be a substitute for personal commitment, responsibility, and authenticity. These are the essential ingredients of trust, enduring relationships, and culture.
And because productive strategy execution is dependent on a culture that encourages curiosity, initiative, appreciation, and collaboration, nurturing greater in-person engagement should be an integral component of beneficial technological progress.
As new work models are evaluated, preserving equilibrium between high-tech progress and high-touch in-person interactions will become increasingly vital for creating value, building enduring relationships, and ensuring that your people feel healthy, creative, and energized.
How well is your business managing the equilibrium between high tech and high touch?