With Generation Y, a new generation of young, well-educated people with a high affinity for technology and modern means of communication join the workforce.
Raised in the era of Internet and smartphones, this generation has lots of talent to bring to the marketplace, forcing employers to compete for the “best talent” in the bunch. In return, these workers place high demands on the workplace in terms of the content, infrastructure and technical design of “their” world of work.
This generation is not influenced by the traditional understanding of one’s role in the workforce. Career at any price is no longer the focus; rather a meaningful and satisfying work life is what millennials crave.
Of course, it’s not only Generation Y that is driving New Ways of Working. The entire world of work is subject to constant change, with new priorities and, thus, new requirements for the modern office and IT.
Collaborative ways of working are in the foreground today, which applies to both technical and physical spaces. Furthermore, the reconciliation of work and private life is a must. It’s no longer a work-life-balance we speak of, but rather a work-life-integration. It’s not an experiment to balance the two poles successively in the right measure of both stakeholders, but rather an “as-well-as,” integrative approach, the healthy association of private life and business.
Why Job Roles Matter
The “consumerization of the enterprise” shifts the workplace paradigm from an IT-centric world (which has dominated the thinking, behaviors and provisioning of services in the past) to a people-centric approach and working environment, characterized by user choice (not company or organization dictat) and commonality (personalization) across both personal and work domains.
In general, five types of work styles can be found in most organizations:
- Process Worker
This person’s work accords to defined processes, and he or she uses IT for process-related applications. Examples include: Line-of-Business Office, Order Administration, Call Center Reps.
- Deskless Worker
This worker tends to bring his/her own device or has access to the host network. Any of the other worker type may also be deskless. Examples include: Contract Worker, Retail, Factory, Manufacturing.
- Knowledge Worker
This person transforms information, produces output using existing processes, manages processes, investigates and resolves problems. Example includes: Project Manager, Product Manager, Finance, Contracts, Sales.
- Executive Worker
This worker focuses on results, on-going business success, consumes a great deal of content, collaborates to make decisions and is highly mobile (international or regional travel). Examples include: CEO, CxO, VP, General Manager, Directors.
- Innovative Worker
This person creates processes, originates ideas, develops solutions and can be highly mobile (regional, international travel). Examples include: Scientist, Systems Designer, Architect.
The Office of Today
To be able to meet the requirements described here, workplaces must be equipped with the latest, target-aimed technologies. Global pacesetting companies are implementing new concepts for interior and floor design, moving from dedicated offices to open- plan environments that improve collaboration and support an increasingly mobile workforce.
Attention is being paid to the furnishings of the physical workplace, the creation of office habitats that fulfill the needs/requirements of modern work. Ergonomic furniture, height-adjustable desks, impromptu meeting rooms, places to retreat for creative thinking — all of these factors make the New Way of Working attractive.
The physical space balances desk space with quiet zones for concentrated work and zones which inspire and promote informal communication between all employees, e.g. well-equipped accommodation/service centers such as coffee bars, lounges, sofa corners and also places for active relaxation, such as table soccer and more. This is topped off with a wide range of available and easy-to-book meeting rooms, based on app-technology for optimal accessibility.
Work does not feel like work if creative and, above all, productive forces are awakened and encouraged. Employees in these new environments report a greater sense of camaraderie, productivity and engagement – since they are able to work more closely with colleagues who share similar goals and projects. Employees also find more opportunities to network and dialogue with their colleagues, which drives greater innovation, creativity and synergy.
As outlined above, the times are changing — rapidly. Whole work paradigms are shifting from the “old way” to a more agile and user friendly environment.
Let’s now talk through the IT evolution related to these changes.
What That Dated Device Conveys
In many clients’ offices, we still come across aging computers with roaring coolers, standing there, defiant, against the wind of change. We see people with desk phones that are ridiculously far away from being easy to use or even functional.
The device is the main access point to a company’s IT system and tools, to the outside world and to clients. These can be seen as a symbol of health for the company as a whole. A state-of-the art device is not only faster and thus enables more productivity, it also improves the end-user experience.
We strongly advise companies to consider at least a partial refresh of hardware and devices in a continuous manner, maybe even in an as-a-Service/leasing model to reduce CAPEX and with that have a contractually agreed to refresh every two years.
We all know what it feels like to be faced with outdated versions of software, with bulky, old applications, with pointless restrictions that are limiting the end-user to a certain set of tools.
In this day and age, a lot of security concerns raised in companies are simply over the top. Just think about the endless browser discussion around IE vs. Firefox vs. Chrome vs. Safari … Also when thinking about productivity tools, e-mail clients and other things – why so restrictive? Why so yesterday?
Microsoft 365, for example, is really reliable, powerful and user-friendly, and CSC is more than happy to help you with considering the pros and cons here. There are so many — often free or very cheap — tools that could replace the legacy rubbish that annoys everyone, from C-Level employees to the front desk.
IT as a People Pleaser
An unhappy employee will not stay for long – and the job market is lively, to say the least.
With the use of Web-based tools and services, with a shift from fat to thin clients and a user’s expectation to have at least the same comfort, in terms of mobility, as he has at home, another challenge arises: connectivity.
Even many years after the rise of Wi-Fi technology in the household (personally I do not know a single family without it), we still see many companies relying on cable. Why is that? Sure, Wi-Fi brings some security issues but those can be addressed, often very easily.
The expense for going wireless should be compared to the expense for maintaining the status quo with cables and infrastructure underneath. After all, a company cannot provide its employees with something better than Wi-Fi, yet — but that is the least they should do to enable a new way of working.
The ability to access internal and external networks from anywhere on the premises or outside allows people to work safe and sound from anywhere on the planet, quickly and above all safely.
Paired with a document management system and modern devices, both employer provided and privately owned (BYOD), this human-machine interface increases productivity. Using cutting-edge applications to promote productivity, “enabling not disabling,” increases employee satisfaction and employee loyalty.
From CSC´s perspective, the New Ways of Working are not a gimmick or passing trend. The modern technical capabilities are fundamental prerequisites to enabling the modern workplace and the next generation of workers.