Robots in the Workplace: Scary or Helpful?

When it comes to new technology and the thought of robots completing automated tasks in the workplace, an instinctive reaction is to be scared that these robots will take over from people. While there is research to suggest that increased automation can increase productivity and actually create jobs, the thought of robots in the workplace can still be an intimidating idea. While we all might be aware of the potential of robots to perform helpful tasks, what robots are currently being used in the workplace? We investigate four of the many being used and tested at the moment: 1. Medical Robots A machine might never be able to offer the same knowledge and bedside manner to a patient as a trained doctor, but robots in various forms are being used in the medical profession to facilitate learning and consulting with patients. From remote key-hole surgery to dentistry dummies that react appropriately to certain procedures, robots are helping medical professionals to refine their skills, and are giving them the tools to operate and examine patients remotely. Within hospitals, there have also been various robots developed to perform routine tasks like delivering clean linen, medicine and other supplies, as well as being able to operate elevators, open doors and avoid obstacles. Functioning on a more stationary level, there are also robots which have been designed to be stand-in as nurses or carers for the elderly, reminding them to take their medicines and to helping them to get in touch with a doctor when they are feeling ill. 2. Manufacturing Robots While machines are already an essential element of manufacturing, the use...

5 Tips for Dealing with Time Zones in the Workplace

In today’s global work environment, we often have to adjust our work schedules to fit in with different time zones. It can be a serious challenge to adjust our body clocks as we continue to travel internationally for work, as well as having to deal with colleagues both ahead of and behind us in time. While there are many different ways to cope with time zone differences, here are five tips to consider when working with people from various corners of the globe: 1. Maintain Regular Check-Ins While it can be difficult to enforce an exact time at which all concerned are available, scheduling a regular check-in can help to keep everyone on the same page. Collaborative platforms allow for easy task assignment regardless of time zone, but connecting in the same time and space, even digitally, can go a long way in ensuring that there is a consistent workflow. This can require a lot of forward planning but with a variety of digital tools to facilitate cross-continent communication, it’s really just a matter of making the time to connect. 2. Stay Connected Keeping everyone on the team connected, regardless of the platform, is essential to breaking down any potential barriers caused by distance. Being aware of everyone else’s time zone, and work preferences, can also prevent anyone from having to wake up at 2am on the other side of the world to deal with a crisis. WhatsApp and Telegram groups, for example, are a very easy way to keep a large number of people in the know, although it does help to have a clear focus for each...

Colour Psychology in the Workplace

We’re all affected by colour on some level, from the tint of our office walls to the clothes we choose to wear every day. Bolder primary colours make a more powerful impact on our conscious mind, but what about the other shades of the spectrum? From slick black corporate suits to bold red lipstick, how do the colours around us affect the way we work and interact, and what is the science behind it? Here are four considerations of colour psychology and how it can be applied to the modern workspace: 1. Bolder colours make a statement If we look at their psychological associations, colours have different effects on us depending on the way we actually process the colour physiologically. For example, bright red is the longest wavelength, and is associated with power, emotions and even aggression. Red in the workplace can also make a bold statement, such as the entrance to The New Yorker magazine’s head office in New York City, which emphasizes the publication’s status as an important cultural institution. Coca-Cola’s office in London also celebrates the qualities of the famous brand with the use of red in their workspace, often interspersed with white to ease the intensity. 2. Colours affects affect our mood and thinking While we might not always understand why, colours affect us on a physical level, sometimes just don’t resonate with us on certain days. Psychologically, blue is associated with calmness, serenity and clear communication, but can also be perceived as aloof and unfriendly. When it comes to enhancing elements of a workspace, the use of a variety of colours can have a...

4 Most Productive Ways to Communicate as a Remote Team

Remote teams are becoming commonplace as the workplace continues to evolve and new technologies make communication across time zones simpler and more effective. With cloud storage an increasingly convenient means of accessing information, it’s become possible to share the same information easily with people all over the world through various software applications. As easy as it is to use these tools, though, how easy is it to communicate with the people you’re sharing them with? Here are four tips to consider when communicating as a remote team: 1. Find a Collaborative Platform that Works There are a variety of collaborative software programmes available, from Slack to Teamwork, which all offer similar functionality. Essentially, a collaborative programme allows you to track the progress of tasks transparently, and to be able to keep track of all communication that happens within the team. While various applications will offer the same ability to send messages, assign tasks and create documents, some applications suit different kinds of teams better than others. For example, a team with structured, routine tasks might benefit from a more structured platform, while a team that is focused on creative tasks would benefit from a software programme that allows them more flexibility. 2. Weekly or Regular Check-Ins While it can be very convenient to be able to track the progress of tasks and follow threads of communication on collaborative software programmes, it’s important to make sure that team members still communicate their progress with regular check-ins. One of the ways to make sure that everyone is on top of their assigned tasks is to get all employees to post a...

Is Technology Shortening Our Attention Spans?

We often like to think that if we just try hard enough, we could concentrate for hours at a time and get everything done. It gets frustrating when we struggle to focus on one task at a time, when the truth is that we’re constantly dividing our attention between all kinds of distractions, from phone calls to emails and from news feeds to other on-screen notifications. 1. Are Our Brains Are Working Differently? Recent research on attention spans conducted by Microsoft, revealed that our average attention spans have fallen from 12 to 8 seconds over the last fifteen years. Microsoft delved deeper into their research on the different ways that we pay attention: sustained, selective and alternating. Sustained attention is focus on specific tasks, and selective attention is being aware of distractions around you but still being able to focus on priority tasks. Finally, alternating attention is the ability to switch between different tasks across platforms. The summary of their research suggests that selective and alternating attention are becoming increasingly important skills in today’s world, as our attention spans adapt to working across different devices and using various online tools. This means that while we may still try to focus on doing one thing at a time, the truth is that the actual structure of our brains is changing. This is because, according to neuroscientific research, the brain actually changes in response to behaviour, for example having to learn how to use new technology. 2. Our Attention Spans and Productivity While we might become frustrated with our inability to focus for longer periods of time due to increasing distractions,...

How to Ensure Productive Communication with Clients

In an increasingly competitive world, a client-supplier relationship can be an exciting opportunity for growth, innovation and development. When communication issues aren’t addressed though, dealing with clients and suppliers can unfortunately be an extremely frustrating exercise, something we’ve all experienced I’m sure. Whilst challenging relationships might allow us to really grow and allow us to learn, here are some of the ways to avoid any unnecessary complications in a world where we have access to so many different communication channels. 1. Set Clear Expectations at the Start The way we work with clients may differ depending on the work we do, and is no doubt influenced by varying personalities and work styles. Whilst the importance of developing a rapport with a client may make a frank conversation slightly awkward early on in the relationship, setting out very clear expectations from the beginning will help to prevent disappointment and resentment down the line. To make sure that clear expectations are set out, listen to the client’s needs carefully. This will allow you to be able to respond appropriately, even if it means you might need to adjust your proposal and timelines. 2. Discuss the Fine Print Upfront It might be tempting to gloss over the inevitable fine print that comes with contracts, proposals and cost estimates, it can be helpful to go through any legal considerations upfront to avoid any unnecessary communciation issues at a later stage. It can be painful to read extended legal documents, but being able to communicate any important considerations can create a productive relationship that allows any issues to be discussed immediately. Outlining everything from...