When I started out in my journey into the business world some 35 years ago, there was so much rigidity and process rigor in everything. There were dress codes like always wearing a suit (not a sports jacket) – you were expected to wear a shirt and tie. The expectation was a minimum contribution of 8:00am to 5:00pm, working under tight management supervision and rigorous reporting of activity. Everyone had a designated desk or workspace with your own phone and extension number, voicemail and either a PC under the desk or a clunky, heavy old laptop that you loaded with floppy disks.
As technology evolved so too did the demographic of our workforce. In an article I read in Harvard Business Review last year, they wrote about how the most studied generations of our time, Gen X (born before the 1980’s but after the baby boomers), Gen Y, also known as the Millennials (born between 1984 and 1996), and Gen Z who were born after 1997 and are just now starting to enter the workforce. The diverse needs across these generations are varied and it is vital to appeal to the needs and whims of all three. You see, Gen Z are the most enthusiastic tech uses in our time. They grew up with mobile technology and gaming devices, they see the potential for Virtual Reality technology, and have high expectations for technology that will revolutionize their workplace. Gen Y also have high expectation for collaboration tools, analytics and mobile technologies, while Gen X can often be on fence when it comes to embracing the advancing technologies and change.
This can create a conundrum of sorts for many companies. The role of the CIO in the average company is a demanding and challenging role. Keeping systems up to date to meet the ever-evolving needs of sales and marketing, manufacturing and supply chain as well as human resources, finance and legal is as daunting as the shift to consumption (cloud) based offerings is complex. All of this while business leaders are demanding the latest solutions leveraging Artificial Intelligence, the Empowered Edge & IOT and perhaps even Blockchain; where is there time for the focus required to embrace a Modern Workplace?
Today’s progressive businesses need to build and execute on plans to develop a Modern Workplace in order to maximize the productivity of teams and individuals. A Modern Workplace enhances employee engagement by enabling a new level of collaboration. One that makes much more sense in a blended generational workforce as it enables team members to be more responsive to challenges and opportunities without being tied down to physical locations. Team members can now use collaboration tools like Skype or Google Docs to communicate more effectively with their colleagues in real-time.
Work-life balance is among the top priorities of today’s millennials and a Modern Workplace enables them to be more flexible, to choose the hours when they want and need to work and allows them to work outside of traditional office hours as they remain connected. The Modern Workplace includes enterprise mobility solutions and security capabilities that safely empower users with unified communications and collaboration tools whether used on company provisioned devices or personal devices.
When you build a Modern Workplace solution for your company you foster higher employee engagement, stronger corporate culture and increase employee productivity and job satisfaction. All the while today’s Modern Workplace solution designs are more open and adaptable to tomorrow’s enablement solutions.