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New Tech for the Workplace of the Future

We might still be a few years away from using virtual reality to get to work from our comfy, comfy beds (dang) but technology is still changing how we work in ways we might not even realize. See how tech might take some of the work off your plate in the future.
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Image Credit: Xavier Arnau/Getty Images

Siri, Can You Help Me?

Imagine instead of asking Siri about the weather forecast or some obscure fact you’re too tired to type into Wikipedia yourself, you asked her to bring up some cost projections for work? Or maybe asked her to analyze how the stock market might swerve after a theoretical political event. Virtual Assistants like Siri, Alexa, OK Google, and the like are going to likely take work out of our inbox and into the internet (possibly via those cordless earphones Apple is peddling). As supercomputers get smarter (hello, Watson) the tasks they’ll be able to complete will also become more and more complex. Let’s just hope they abide by some basic laws of robotics.

Bye Bye, Team Training. Hello, Microlearning

It doesn’t take a millennial to teach you that you have no attention span anymore. I’m impressed if you’ve read this whole paragraph so far. The ramping-up trend of “microlearning” puts information sharing and education opportunities into the tiniest digestible chunks. Think of it as Vine for learning new skills. Perfect for those repeated focus shifts throughout the day, on the commute, at lunch, or even (ungh) on the toilet (see Google’s Learning on the Loo for that gem). If your company wants all employees to learn, say, new software, they might use microlearning to stretch out the training from a 2-hour cram session to 60 1-minute long videos that pop up on your desktop or mobile phone over a week. (Note: yes, this means the total training time will be shorter, but microlearning is designed to hit highpoints, not be comprehensive.)

How does this help? Well, you probably don’t remember anything after the first few minutes of that two-hour training, now do you? Using microlearning techniques with small videos, easily scanned copy, or even mini quizzes or tests, you ingrain information into a receptive brain and then get out while the getting’s good. Some recent studies put retention through microlearning at 22 percent higher than traditional methods (and you don’t get those big chunks of lost productivity in the workday, either).

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Using Social for the Powers of Good

Besides distributing microlearning via social (think Instagram since Vine is RIP), there are other ways that major social networks are getting in on the collaboration game. Gone are the days of wasting time on Facebook during the 9 to 5. Now you’re working (while also probably wasting time) with their new Workplace tool. Google is also getting in on the collab game with tools to help app developers like Gallery, Remixer, and Stage. And of course Slack, which just launched a new Enterprise version geared at making connecting teams.

And isn’t that ultimately what we want, but have trouble achieving? Connecting employees who, even while standing at their desks in tidy rows, are still just staring at their phones in their hands, disconnected.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the biggest problem you’d like to solve at work, and what technology would you invent to do it? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.


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