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New Consortium Aims to Humanize the Digital Workplace

Monday, December 11, 2017

Multidisciplinary Team of Best-Selling Authors, World-Class Researchers and Technology Experts Address the Challenges of Information Overload and its Adverse Effects on Worker Productivity

Boston, MA

To address the growing problem of information overload within the modern workplace, an independent consortium of multidisciplinary experts has been formed to help reduce its adverse impact on worker productivity and morale. Called the “Humanizing the Digital Workplace Consortium,” the team will examine why companies make the mistake of forcing employees into tech-driven workflows that don’t match humans’ natural way of thinking and working. The consortium will identify solutions and offer guidance to companies about creating people-centric approaches that improve worker productivity, creativity and wellbeing.

Organizations continue to spend millions of dollars on productivity solutions and enterprise apps to support their workers, but ironically, those very solutions are contributing to the information and app overload problem hurting productivity, according to consortium member David Lavenda, who is also a co-founder of  harmon.ie.

“Companies have struggled to maximize their workers’ efforts for the past decade with little to show for it. This is an issue with huge implications and I couldn’t think of a better group of people to examine all of the factors that have led us to this point, while offering ideas on how to overcome this challenge,” said Lavenda.

Members of the “Humanizing the Digital Workplace Consortium” include:

  • Alexandra Levit is a former nationally syndicated columnist for The Wall Street Journal and writer for The New York Times, Fast Company, and Forbes. She has authored several books, including the international bestseller They Don't Teach Corporate in College.
  • Dr. Paul Root Wolpe is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics at the Emory Center for Ethics. Dr. Wolpe is the author of over 125 articles, editorials, and book chapters in sociology, medicine, and bioethics, and has contributed to a variety of encyclopedias on bioethical issues. 
  • Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, lecturer at Northeastern University, and an internationally recognized expert in mental strength. Her book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, is an international bestseller that is being translated into 29 languages. Her latest book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, teaches parents how to become mental strength coaches so they can raise resilient children in the modern world.
  • Gloria Mark is a Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. She has published over 150 papers in the top journals and conferences in the fields of human-computer interactions (HCI) and computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) and is author of the book Multitasking in the Digital Age.
  • Aaron Levy is the Founder and CEO of Raise The Bar Consulting, a firm focused on helping companies retain their Millennial talent by empowering managers to be better leaders of people. Aaron is an ICF Associate Certified Coach, a Thrive Global contributor, an 1871 mentor, the Co-Director of Startup Grind Chicago, and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. 
  • Manfred Leu is the Head of Digital Workplace User Adoption and Consulting, and a Director of IT at Swiss Re, and is committed to implementing an IT environment that improves worker productivity.
  • David Lavenda is a Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy for harmon.ie. Lavenda is a scholar for the Society for the History of Technology and is a regular contributor to major business publications such as Fast Company and CMSWire.

To launch the consortium, each member offered insights into the top workplace trends of 2018:

  • Rise of the Remote Workers: Organizations will optimize the remote worker experience by implementing new processes and tools that increase engagement so businesses can empower people to work where they are most comfortable. Giving employees the power to choose their location during work hours is an important step towards increasing productivity throughout an organization. – Amy Morin
  • Augmenting Humanity: As machine learning and AI take shape in the workplace, expect augmented intelligence to reshape the future of work. Areas with high repetitive, high volume, high nodes of interactions, and high complexity will most likely be moved to automation and AI.  Skill sets that require creativity, new levels of complexity, and physical presence will remain in human hands. This augmentation of humanity will reshape not only how we work, but also determine where we work, what we work on, when we work and why we work. –R “Ray” Wang
  • Working in Transit: As we enter the era of autonomous cars, mobile work stations are going to be much more elaborate and sophisticated. Soon, workers will be able to set up a whole work station in their back seat, and it won’t be much different than sitting in an office. – Dr. Paul Root Wolpe
  • Measuring Productivity: We’ll see a rise of analytics to tell from an objective standpoint who is more productive, who will stay at or leave a job, where the greatest source of qualified recruits are coming from, and more. We have a very small percentage of organizations using analytics in this way (only 15% right now), and we’ll start to see more organizations adopting this in the coming year(s). – Alexandra Levit
  • Outcomes-focused Work over Time-focused Work: With GenZ and Millennials taking up much of the workforce, we’ll see a shift from 'Nine to Five' mentality to ‘finish-the-job’ mentality, even if it takes only half the time or is done remotely. – Aaron Levy
  • A New Path to Employee Engagement: Knowledge workers will adopt quickly to new ways of working with information and collaborating with colleagues if we can inspire them by offering creative and user-friendly solutions, and surprise them with exceptional service at any touchpoint throughout the entire user journey. Young talent will choose their employer also based on a modern working environment and their perceived working culture. – Manfred Leu
  • AI Gets Pragmatic: The promise of AI starts to be realized, but in limited, practical ways. Rather than the job-eating technology that people fear, AI will power cloud applications that are able to anticipate information a worker will need to complete a task and provide it proactively. It sounds counter-intuitive, but AI will actually help humanize technology.  – David Lavenda

About harmon.ie

harmon.ie (www.harmon.ie) makes user experience tools for the digital workspace, built to deliver information the way the human brain works. The company is a pioneer in Topic Computing; its flagship harmon.ie Collage solution breaks down data siloes from business applications by grouping information by topics, thereby surfacing what’s most important to knowledge workers. harmon.ie provides a cohesive, people-first user experience supported by cognitive science and powered by machine learning to enhance employee productivity and help organizations overwhelmed with data. The company is a Microsoft Partner of the Year Finalist and an IBM global partner.

Follow harmon.ie on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Media Contact:
Gail Scibelli
fama PR for harmon.ie
617-986-5019
harmon.ie@famapr.com