Remember back when listing ‘Microsoft Word’ on your resume as a skill was a ‘thing’?
No? I hope I’m not dating myself here—although really, it’s far too early for me to be saying such a thing. I was born smack dab in the middle of the millennial generation, which, if you didn’t know, is commonly characterized as those who were born in the years ranging from the 1980s to the early 2000s.
It’s just interesting to marvel at how quickly technology has evolved, and is continuing to evolve today. For example, how competence with programs such as Microsoft Word, just less than a decade prior, used to be a specialty, whereas now it’s a given.
We are of the generation that grew up along with these technologies. We matured as they evolved, and technology evolves in the name of human progress—namely, in regards to productivity. We want better ways to do bigger things, and as millennials, the generation on the verge of taking over the workforce, this will affect us more than ever.
We are in a unique position to appreciate just how far technology has come to create a very real impact on everyday life. This means that we have the space to be more imaginative and ambitious than ever before. Sure, it’s 2015, and we still don’t have flying cars yet, but think of all the technological advances that have been made in the last ten years that we now take for granted.
Here are some numbers to put things in millennial-perspective.
The World Wide Web, as we know it, had its first website emerge in 1990.
Two weeks ago, it the 16th birthday of the first BlackBerry released in 1999.
The first iPhone was announced in 2007.
These are all—and barely the tip of the iceberg of—huge technological changes that have pushed themselves into almost every aspect of modern human life. Sometimes we’ve come so far that I myself have to take a step back and realize that most of this actually happened within my lifetime.
It is now no longer a question of if technology will change the workplace, but how. Furthermore, it is a question of how technology will evolve as we use it, and how it will change us and the way we interact with it and the society around us.
First off, technology has altered the face of communication forever. Today, communication with our fellow human beings happens virtually more often than not. Emails, text messages, Facebook, social media—come to think of it, when was the last time you picked up the phone and had an actual conversation?
Technology has redefined productivity by making things like virtual collaboration possible. It is now possible for a team to come together online and collaborate—all without being in the same room, the same city, or even the same country. Increasingly, we are coming to work through online channels, where physical presence becomes less important to productivity.
Without said physical limitations, people are able to connect with others on a level that is as global as it is personal. As a result, the world has grown smaller—we now interact with more cultures than ever before. When such intermingling between cross-cultural and cross functional groups occur, it brings a richness of global, diversified talent to the workplace.
It also broadens the company’s perspective through multiple cultural and experiential lenses. This is where flexibility in the workplace comes into play. A workplace that favours flexibility will keep mediocrity in check, and also pave the way towards increased innovation.
We live in a global workplace without the impediment of time zones or office hours, because technology has effectively destroyed the 9-5 paradigm. Flexibility in the workplace allows the average person to be able to work from home, improving work-life balance, job satisfaction, and overall productivity. (See a report with more statistics here.)
The technological advances of the past and recent years have brought about a revolution to the workplace, and we as millennials are becoming harbingers for such change. We’ve come a long way. It’s been only 25 years since 1990, and look at how much has changed since then. So here’s to 2015, everyone. May it be yet another year of bigger, better, and brighter things.