The evolving workplace: Five things businesses need to know
6 March 2017
3 min read
Employees are now being provided with tools and opportunities to expand their potential, rather than be limited by long-standing definitions. So, what gives? Global megatrends — including changing demographics, accelerated innovation, hyper-globalisation and rapid urbanisation — are making waves across industries. These changes will push offices of the future toward greater connectivity, adaptable technology and smarter capabilities. And leave it all in the hands of younger, tech-savvy professionals.
The good news is these global shifts have granular effects, as they are forcing leaders from various departments into more collaborative and integrated positions within the workspace. For example, IT decision-makers will have a more prominent seat at the table when it comes to the core, day-to-day business operations as they lead the charge in managing solutions that spark innovation and protect bottom lines. True, your department may already have a lot on its plate — but the pressure is on to meet the needs of future employees and beyond. Here’s what to expect in the evolving workplace:
1. Younger, tech-savvy employees will take over.
Millennials are poised to make up a large majority of the global workforce in the near future, with subsequent generations not far behind. These tech-driven, digital natives will rely on technology to make their lives easier and more productive. Technology will also be a key driver in attracting and retaining next-gen employees. Business leaders will need to put a stronger focus on their relationships with these younger employees, zeroing in on their needs and expectations. This approach will help departments provide solutions that result in the flexibility, personalisation and collaboration millennials desire.
2. Employee workstyles will be anything but traditional.
A global study by PGi revealed 79 percent of those polled work outside of the office. Telecommuting will continue to become a popular option as work is redefined to take place virtually anywhere and not necessarily during traditional 9-to-5 office hours or inside four walls. Technology will play a major role in enabling this movement, not only with connected devices that bring employees into the office “space” from locations all over the globe but also with the advent of “bring your own device” (BYOD) initiatives. Businesses will need to deploy solutions that support a growing group of employees who may not set foot in an office as well as ones who opt for BYOD.
3. Workplaces will continue to be more open and collaborative.
Cubicles are so last year. Workplaces are becoming more open, and walls — both physically and figuratively — are coming down to allow for more collaborative work environments. This trend isn’t expected to stop, as younger generations tend to prefer nontraditional office layouts. What else is on the office architecture docket? Spaces specifically dedicated to co-creation and immersive, interactive experiences. Once again, technological innovations break the boundaries of offices and their physical capabilities. Relevant departments should pilot and explore various solutions that fit needs within the office space.
4. Security needs will have greater importance.
Businesses growing globally will demand greater connectivity, resulting in the need for tighter security measures. This need will be further accelerated by a rise in both predictable and unpredictable technological innovations. While Gartner forecasts that through 2020, 99 percent of system weak spots will be the ones security and IT professionals already know — it will be increasingly difficult to keep up with the changing risks. Businesses will have to deploy solutions equipped to identify and defend against known security risks, as well as ones they might not see coming.
5. More collaborative services modules will arise for IT professionals.
The responsibilities of IT leaders will continue to evolve as enterprises leverage their abilities to further overall business objectives. CIOs will encourage their teams to be a part of greater discussions that transcend beyond the IT bubble. In fact, one study found that successful CIOs consider it more important to support digital business initiatives and overall business costs over optimising IT-specific costs. This might mean more strategy discussions, greater engagement with other lines of business and more collaborative relationships throughout. Businesses will be challenged to provide solutions that fit the growing needs brought on by these evolving trends. With greater awareness of coming generations, technological advances and smarter capabilities, workplaces can start initiating change today and elevating the right business leaders into positions that solve for and enable agility and progression.
Businesses will be challenged to provide solutions that fit the growing needs brought on by these evolving trends. With greater awareness of coming generations, technological advances and smarter capabilities, workplaces can start initiating change today and elevating the right business leaders into positions that solve for and enable agility and progression.