Ergonomics and Communication
Why is it Important?
Rapid advances in technology have provided us with more and more flexibility and freedom in various working contexts. With communication being a critical element to all working environments these advances are adding new dimensions to the way we conduct business.
In situations where telephones were previously confining people to a workstation the advent of cellular/mobile phones, headsets and two way radios have mobilized workers and have helped them become more efficient in situations where ongoing connectedness with fellow workers and the outside world are essential to the work.
In large facilities or buildings cordless phones and two way radios have virtually no limitations with up to five-mile transmission capability. In office environments workers can use wireless phone headsets with a range of up to 100 feet with hands free to attend to routine tasks. Then workers are able to move about the office while communicating on the phone. There are phones built into computer mice (mouse phones) to facilitate the computer user. Many units have amplifiers to adapt to individual requirements. There have been improvements in the designs of stand-alone teleconferencing devices. We can expect to see advances in phone functions in terms of bigger screens, touch and voice commands and attachable letter based keyboards.
Mobilized Computer Technology
Laptop computers allow for user to mobilize the office. There are several line workstations located at airports around the country for business travelers and there are future plans for expansion. Battery operated units enable laptop users to work in remote areas or under situations where there is no other power source.
We now have pagers with limited e-mail capacity and are now seeing the first wireless handheld computers. The existing computers have touch screens and have been limited mainly to organizing functions. The new models have keyboards and have a communication function. They have their own wireless connection to the network and as a result are less dependent on PCs as are existing models. Unlike pagers with e-mail capability the new units are also able to connect all pre-existing messaging accounts.
Voice and Document Recording Technology
Voice recorders have been used for sometime in the recording business meetings and lectures or for memos in situations where writing is impractical. In the past the recorders were limited solely to a recording function and used micro tapes that have a short recording time.
The latest versions of voice recorders are digital, have multi-functions including storage and indexing capacity and adapters for phone conversation recording. The recording times have expanded up to 9 hours. Some have PC connection capability for conversion into text with speech-to-text software and sending e-mail messages. For the copying of written material in locations away from the office or copy machines we have portable hand held scanners that can later be transferred to office or home computers.