How Are Media and Communication Changing the World?
Media and communication are changing various aspects of the world including relationships, health, education, work, business, and politics. The various technologies have transformed the way people work and transact business. These inventions have conferred different benefits to organizations. Firms today can use various technologies for internal communication regardless of geographical boundaries. The can also hire contract employees that allow them to reduce operational costs. Similarly, freelance workers have a flexible schedule that allows them to work from anywhere and anytime. However, they do not get the crucial benefits such as health coverage, social security among other benefits. Media and communication technologies will continue improving and they will have more benefits to the firms and employees. For example, the game simulators and VR will help boards to make better decisions to improve organizational efficiency. VR and other technologies will eventually replace mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. In addition, they will determine the expected responses from the clients beforehand. Therefore, it is imperative to discuss the various media and communication strategies available today, their benefits, as well as expected improvements and benefits to firms and employees.
How Events in the Media and Communication is Driving what is happening at the Workplace
Media and communication affect the personal and professional aspects of workers. They also enhance organizational processes and the productivity of employees. Mobile phones, email, laptops, and instant messaging are the most widely used in organizations because of their ability to facilitate flexible work schedules (Hoeven, van Zoonen, & Fonner, 2016). They also facilitate efficient communication between staff and allow them to obtain information and feedback quickly to address issues that arise in the workplace (Long 2016). Communication innovations also facilitate different work styles and preferences such as flexible work arrangements, teleconferencing facilities, compressed workweeks, and telecommuting schedules (Brough & O’Driscoll, 2010). These enhancements have streamlined interaction between team members, which has improved their productivity as well as their wellbeing.
The widespread use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has empowered employees to access and share information at any time and across geographical boundaries. These technologies have also reduced the gap between work and private lives of the employees. The media is spreading into more of the world than ever before (Week Two Lecture). In this case, individuals work even at home to accomplish the tasks assigned. Although media and communication technologies confer flexibility, they may lead to negative impacts such as stress spillover (Brough and O’Driscoll, 2010; Jiang, 2016). Moreover, stressed employees working from home may impact their families in various ways.
Social media is one of the most avenues of communication today. It has become so influential that employees and employers consider it among the important factors for job offers. In fact, the majority of young applicants consider unrestrained access to social media when they search for jobs (CISCO, 2011). Most of these young professionals use these platforms to connect with their friends and families through photos, videos, and posts about their thoughts at any given time. However, there is a chance that some of the employees may use social media during work hours for personal endeavors. Informal use of Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram during work hours may have serious consequences.
Job seekers do not expect prospective employers to conduct background checks on their social media accounts. Moreover, there are no laws restricting or permitting such actions. The absence of laws on the use of social media leads to uncertainty for the employers and employees. Ambiguity may also occur in cases concerning online disclosure of employers’ information and employment conditions, which may constitute a breach of contract. In fact, social media use has become a primary factor in employment litigations today. Moreover, many employees abuse technology availed in the workplace (Cilliers, 2013). Consequently, many employers have developed workplace policies to limit the use of social media. The rules and policies established provide certainty, which guarantees employee productivity. Therefore, it may be important for employers to create guidelines for proper usage of technology in the workplace. In fact, there is a need for organizations to come up with labor laws and workplace policies consistent with technological development.
Proper usage of social media offers companies diverse marketing opportunities (Colliers, 2013). These platforms allow firms to connect with their customers and potential ones in real time. Thus, they can respond to their queries about products and services, inform them about new products, as well as organizational activities that impact them. The ability to connect with customers in real time makes them feel appreciated. The loyal clients are usually content with a firm and they always purchase their products and services. They also refer others to the firm, which may assist it in increasing its reach. Therefore, social media can help companies increase their market share, improve sales, and retain more revenues.
Social networking sites facilitate instant communications in organizations (Cilliers 2013). The employees can use the platforms to raise issues that affect them to the management. At the same time, leaders can use these communication strategies to send mass messages to the workers. These platforms allow all stakeholders to communicate effectively regardless of their location and time. Sometimes, firms use video conferencing through Skype to have virtual meetings with their staffs in different branches and regions. Such meetings are important, especially when there is a need for consultations on different issues affecting a firm (Cilliers, 2013). Similarly, worker unions’ representatives use restricted websites to communicate with members about various common issues (Cilliers, 2013). Although some employers detest such communications, they should understand that technologies define modern workplaces.
According to Adkins and Premeaux (2014), technology has transformed employees’ productivity. Mobile phones, personal data assistants (PDAs), and laptops allow the workers to perform some tasks away from the office and conventional work hours. Such flexibility has allowed employees to balance their work and personal life (Adkins et al. 2014). Moreover, they can create schedules for work and family time. However, familial conflicts may arise in cases in which employees focus on the work more than bonding with the family. The situation may be worse for employees whose employers expect them to check their emails and respond in the evenings or during weekends. In such cases, the workers are provided with work gadgets such as PDAs and smartphones to ensure that they are always a call or an email away (Adkins et al. 2014). Many employees take work seriously, especially when there are extrinsic motivators such as promotion and higher pay. Such individuals are willing to respond to emails and even calls at any time after working hours. Whereas it is understandable, they may have challenges balancing their family obligations and attention. Moreover, they are always on standby to respond to any communiqué from their employers or colleagues (Adkins et al. 2014).
According to The World Bank (2013), ICT inventions have created new employment opportunities through inclusive labor markets. In addition, they have empowered workers to balance between work and their personal lives (The World Bank, 2013). Most countries today are supporting the ICT sector to create more jobs for the youth. Consequently, some individuals are using new technologies to make a living. For example, creative individuals can use their abilities to create content for others and be paid. In addition, they can create useful applications that enhance the livelihood of people. The popularity of ICT has made many large companies outsource some of their functions, for example, ICT support. There are many outsourcing hubs around the world especially the developing nations (The World Bank, 2013). Although the companies from developed nations outsource some activities to cut costs, they create many jobs in the host nation.
Although ICT creates many jobs, the majority of ICT jobs are contract-based or temporary. Therefore, the employees may lose important benefits such as social security services, health insurance, and pension schemes (The World Bank, 2013). Given the chance, many of the contract employees would opt for other jobs but they cannot. Organizations offering contract-based ICT jobs have been involved in controversies. There are suggestions that they use the strategy to cut on costs. In some cases, they even allow the ICT employees to work remotely so they can save on the rent expenses and related overheads. Consequently, most of these organizations have high turnover since employees are always looking for better opportunities.
What Different the Events in the Media and Communication will Make in the Wider World
Development in the media and communication has led to the emergence of a new class of workers known as freelancers. In the past, the majority of the workforce in the United States had 9-5 jobs. Today, other forms of work arrangements are rapidly becoming popular (Rampton, 2016). In fact, a survey conducted by Freelancers Union and UpWork (2015) revealed that 34 percent of the people in the United States had some form of freelance work. More work will be done by freelancers in the future except in sectors that require the physical presence of workers such as the building and construction sector. Already, data entry, web development, and content creation are already being done through ICT. The skilled workers access the various tasks provided by the client through various platforms. The platform owners act as the middlemen that ensure quality work is done and payments are made. Consequently, they charge a fee on the amount paid by the buyer.
The Internet has made job search easier and quicker today. In the past, job applicants were limited to newspapers advertisements. They had to keep purchasing newspapers for them to get the right jobs. In addition, they had to submit their physical resumes to the organizations they got offers from. Today, potential employees only need internet access, which is readily available through smartphones among other gadgets. Using these devices is much cheaper considering data today is much cheaper. In addition, they can use public networks provided by the various public and private institutions. The potential employees can also store their important data on phone storage or the cloud. Therefore, they can send it very fast when requested to do so. The Internet has streamlined the process of identifying and applying for jobs. In fact, approximately half of the workers in the United States found their jobs online (Freelancers Union & Upwork 2015). Individuals that have no internet access or expertise to use modern gadgets can use the many firms that connect potential employees and employers at a fee.
An increasingly larger number of people are becoming freelancers because of the benefits it offers them. Although the majority of people perceive it as a means of making extra money, the 2015 survey revealed that freelancers earn more money than their counterparts who do traditional jobs (Freelancers Union & Upwork 2015). Freelancing relieves employers of expenses such as benefits, employment taxes, and the cost linked to having physical office spaces. As such, they can afford to pay these independent contractors more than traditional workers (Rampton, 2016).
More companies will seek the services of independent workers in the future. Many ICT professionals prefer per project working arrangements. The strategy gives them the flexibility they need to work on several projects simultaneously. In addition, they get time to do other important things, including family time and other business interests. These individuals can work anywhere as long as they have their gadgets and internet connection at times (Rampton, 2016). At the same time, companies save a lot of money since they do not need in-house ICT experts. Moreover, they can lease or rent out smaller spaces and downsize the number of employees at the office. Therefore, they spend lesser funds on employee salaries, office equipment and stationeries, as well as benefits such as insurance and social security.
How Communication and Media will Drive Work in the Future
Communication technologies will make it easy for branches, subsidiaries, and other offices to interact whenever there is need. Unlike today, virtual 3D workspaces will be available and will allow employees to work remotely. In addition, it will allow all participants to determine the facial expressions and body language of others. Therefore, communication among stakeholders is expected to improve, which will enhance firm efficiencies, productivity, sales, and profitability.
Future firms will use social media platforms to create a positive legacy. The networking platforms have become so important today that many firms are starting to use them. In the future, probably all firms will have social media profiles. They will use them to connect with their clients up close to determine their tastes and preferences. The aim will be to ensure all customers are content with a firm to maintain their loyalty. Therefore, companies will be more diverse since they will be providing products and services depending on the expectations of the different clients’ cohorts. In this case, the firms will not care much about the possible increased operational costs. Their main intention will be to create a good legacy for those generations as well as the future ones.
Companies will increasingly use games and simulations to develop and test their products. The users wear VR headset, enter a different world, and test different perspectives of a particular product and service. The future VR technology is expected to determine the emotional responses of the individuals, which the firms can use to make products that influence customers positively (Stoke n.d.). The new strategy will increase the quality of the product and its efficiency before launching products. As such, the technology will make work easier and lower operational cost. Moreover, the firms will not experiment with new products and services as they do today.
Embracing VR technology can help boards to gain a deeper understanding of the firms’ products or services. Although developed initially for gaming, many companies have started applying technology. Companies can adapt the technology to play the roles of various stakeholders such as customers, investors, product developer, and factory worker to determine their perceptions about the firm (Lancefield & Gagliardi, 2015). VR will resolve the insularity that many boards are blamed for such as decreased performance due to poor decisions. The board will be able to use the simulations and war-game tools to plan properly and make effective decisions.
The new future technologies will put pressure on the firms in various ways. Social media platforms have become the preferred channels for airing grievances today. The trend is expected to continue in future through enhanced live video coverage. Whenever customers will be disappointed, it is likely they will use these platforms to report their experiences in real-time. Therefore, the firms will need to have extra resources to deal with such issues instantly. Moreover, such live videos can have disastrous effects on firms if they remain unattended. In addition, firms will be expected to work harder to meet the expectations of the diverse customer base to avoid such cases. Therefore, companies may spend a lot of resources, which may decrease sales and profitability.
Communication and media have transformed the modern workplace in various ways. The new technologies have empowered workers to balance between work and their private lives effectively. However, they have increased expectations of employers since they expect the employees to be available at any time to respond to work duties among others. Some employees do not mind working throughout, especially when there are promotions and monetary rewards at stake. However, such scenarios may lead to familial conflicts since the other members may be as if they are being alienated. The new media and communication technologies have allowed many people to work with flexible work schedules. Most ICT professionals prefer project-based chores since they can work on several at the same time. The strategy allows them to maximize thereby making more money. Companies are also using these strategies to outsource some of their activities to other nations to reduce operational costs. At the same time, they create employment for many in the host nations. Many firms today are embracing the media and communication technologies to interact with their clients. The approach has allowed them to understand their customers better, which can help them to make better products and services. The technologies available today will improve in future and influence the actions of the firms and customers. Firms will use simulated applications to understand the psychological aspects of the clients to make better products. Such applications will help the firms to make better decisions regarding their products and services. The clients will also take advantage of the enhanced technology to air their positive and negative views about products and services provided. Therefore, firms will be on edge and will be forced to work harder to build their positive legacy while avoiding negative reviews.
Adkins, CL & Premeaux, SF 2014, The Use of Communication Technology to Manage Work-Home Boundaries. Available at: <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281109554_The_Use_of_Communication_Technology_to_Manage_Work-Home_Boundaries/download> [Accessed 18 April 2019].
Brough, P., and O’Driscoll, M.P., 2010. Organizational interventions for balancing work and home demands: An overview. Work & Stress, 24, pp. 280-297.
Cilliers, FQ 2013, “The role and effects of social media at the workplace,” Northern Kentucky Law Review , 40 (3), 567-594.
CISCO, 2011. CISCO connected world technology report 17 (2011). Available at<http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns1120/2011_cisco_connected_worldtrechnology_report_chapter_2_report.pdf> [18 April 2019].
Freelancers Union & Upwork, 2015. Freelancing in America: 2015. Available at: <https://fu-web-storage-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/pdf/freelancinginamerica2015.pdf> [Accessed 18 April 2019].
Hoeven, CLT, van Zoonen, W & Fonner, KL 2016. “The practical paradox of technology: The influence of communication technology use on employee burnout and engagement, Communication Monographs, 83(2), pp. 239-263.
Jiang, H., 2016. The impact of communication technologies on employees’ well-being. Available at: <https://instituteforpr.org/impact-communication-technologies-employees-well/> [Accessed 18 April 2019].
Lancefield, D., and Gagliardi, C., 2015. Reimaging the boardroom for an age of Virtual Reality and AI. Harvard Business Review.
Rampton, J 2016, April 20, Why freelancing is dominating the workforce. The Insyder. Available at: <https://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/04/20/generation-freelancer-freelancing-exploding/> [Accessed 18 April 2019].
Stoke, C., n.d. How Augmented and Virtual Reality will impact work. Available at <https://www.theforward.co/virtual-and-augmented-reality-will-impact-work/> [Accessed 18 April 2019].
The World Bank 2013, ICTs are creating new jobs and making labor markets more innovative, inclusive, and global – World Bank study. Available at: <http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2013/09/10/icts-are-creating-new-jobs-and-making-labor-markets-more-innovative-inclusive-and-global-world-bank-study> [Accessed 18 April 2019].
Week Five Lecture, Tutorial Guide and Materials—New Interfaces, New Interactions
Week Nine Lecture, Tutorial Guide and Materials—Transition
Week Two Lecture, Tutorial Guide and Materials—Media in an Expanded Field/Are the differences between “media” and “world” collapsing?—The World as Medium/The Becoming Environmental of Power/The Third media Revolution
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