Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

How Technology Has Changed the Meeting [Infographic]

It is a rare occasion that I broadcast back-to-back infographic-centered posts however, upon encountering this infographic, I knew this must be shared. If you’re like me, an image-based timeline makes historical information easier to digest and retain. Behold the technological evolution from 1958 to the present and, from here, to what’s on the horizon.

Advancements in technology have changed the world of business in terms of communication, presentation, and project management. With these technological developments came a great change in the dynamics of the meeting room. Cloud based presentations and video conferencing have blurred the lines between the office space, the home office, and the meeting room. Brandeis University concludes that ultimately, the meeting room, as we know it, may disappear completely.

Brandeis University designed a compelling infographic that looks into the past and future of the meeting room to see how technology changes the way we do business.

Brandeis University M.S. in Project and Program Management Online

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9 responses to “How Technology Has Changed the Meeting [Infographic]

  1. Thomas May 1, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    The “future” should foster more telework, which (it seems to me) has been slow to expand. It’s certainly not expanding fast enough in Austin, where traffic congestion worsens daily, even though Austin is supposed to be a tech-hip city. There’s something about telework, as it stands now, that causes many employers (and a lot of employees) to resist it, even in the case of office employees who do “back room” work. What is the hold up, based on your research into telework? My off-the-top guesses are: a perceived inability to monitor and measure output; a perceived necessity for employees to be physically near each other; resistance to the acquisition of the necessary technology, combined with lack of confidence in the ability of workers to master it; and a preference on the part of (many) workers for a “social” work environment. The real breakthrough may not be the wholesale adoption of telework but the wholesale replacement of office workers by domain-specific artificial intelligence systems.

    • L. P. May 2, 2015 at 4:19 am

      Hi Thomas! You’ve mentioned many of the factors hindering more widespread adoption of telework.

      In addition to the ones named, I’d include outdated laws, stemming back from the time people mostly worked in factories, with regard to shift work having to happen within a certain time period (which bars more flexible hour work arrangements that telework facilitates, like if you want to work in 2-hour bursts spread over a 12-hour time period). Tax laws are another as situations in which a worker lives in one state but works for a company in another state is taxed twice have not been dealt with. Another legal issue being debated (which I don’t think should be an issue with people working in their own homes) is the extent to which an employer is liable for injuries sustained while on the job (e.g., tripping over your own cat, falling, and spraining something). To add to that, employers are also concerned about data security if teleworkers have access to confidential information off the premises.

      I also see companies that start off being virtual from the get-go, such as the start-up 37signals, as having more of chance to succeed at retaining productive teleworkers than companies that have a long history of being an actual place of work since change means having to face the difficulty of dealing with all the obstacles mentioned. Some larger tech companies have been the exception (Cisco and IBM) because, I think, due to their tech-orientation, teamwork facilitated through technological devices is consistent with their interests compared to companies (like Zappos) that’re more about sales and emphasize human relationships (and being attached at the hip as a perceived natural way to facilitate this).

  2. lemonchronicle May 3, 2015 at 3:55 am

    When I worked for corporations they traveled. In particular the Japanese like face to face communications. I do not believe that this will change for actual business meetings. They may use technology to set up meetings.

    • L. P. May 3, 2015 at 4:51 am

      Yes, I doubt we’ll see meeting preferences (whether face-to-face or technology-mediated) become ubiquitous (“all this way” or “all that way”) just because there’s room for different individuals and different companies too. There has been a lot of research literature supporting, for example, women’s preferences for context-richness and, therefore a more pronounced preference for face-to-face compared to men. However, within those groups there will always be individual women who don’t have such a strong preference as well as men who share most women’s preferences.

      I often hear things like Asians like to do things this way or that way also. While there may be a kernel of truth to statements like those (because it represents an observable segment of the population), there are also always exceptions that perhaps didn’t make it into particular individual’s experiences. I think the real potential for technological devices like these is to allow options for people who differ (disabled people who can’t or prefer not to travel for instance) to work/meet in a different way.

      • lemonchronicle May 3, 2015 at 5:01 am

        True but their technologies are also highly confidential.

      • lemonchronicle May 3, 2015 at 5:23 am

        It would be great for education, some sectors of engineering, business.

        • L. P. May 3, 2015 at 5:56 am

          Yeah, and technology-mediated meetings are ideal for certain times and circumstances. People can still meet while there’s a widespread disaster or pandemic going on, for example. The last time the northeastern part of the US experienced a snowstorm, for instance, companies just had people work and conduct business meetings from home since air travel (or even driving) wasn’t possible.

  3. lemonchronicle May 7, 2015 at 2:17 am

    I found an example of uses of technology at meetings in my youtube feed that I thought you would be interested in viewing. EPA violated the Nuremburg Code https://youtu.be/PcygXIOBjrQ

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