Every day I come across articles like this one focusing on technology as the driver and enabler for workplace transformation: "How Windows 10 Drives Transformation in the Workplace - Changing wo..."
As remarkable as the features of this (or other technologies) are, as human beings we struggle to keep up and stay truly connected on a human level with the people we are expected to collaborate with through technology.
In the real world, digital technology, while enabling technical communications, can also cause the unintended consequence of feeling disconnected, creating Virtual Distance. And this leads to significant business impacts.
While throwing ever more technology at workplace issues sometimes helps us gain efficiencies on some measures, there can also be an invisible price to pay in terms of financial performance, innovation and other critical success factors that depend on feeling closer even though we may be physically distant; a human condition that can only be improved though human solutions that are grounded in predictive analytics. For example, trust is of major concern as this critical aspect of work has been degrading for quite some time.
But as a leader we can't just say "trust each other more". It doesn't happen that way. We need to seed the digital workplace with practices that build back a measurable sense of trust by reducing Virtual Distance.
The same can be said of innovative behaviors, job satisfaction and employee engagement. And from a financial perspective, projects that come in late and over budget are often the product of Virtual Distance as well - costing millions in both time and money. However, if we see the human drivers and quantifiable Virtual Distance factors playing a role, we can improve performance on all levels in a measurable way.
Mainstream, veteran business technology journalists tend to focus on workplace transformation issues driven by technology and of course - that is news. However the most important headline is that the way to increased performance is by reducing Virtual Distance - and bringing a meaningful experience back to the millions who go online to work every day seeking not just productivity but camaraderie and community - the hallmarks of high performing organizations.