2020 will see the young upstarts of “Generation Z” take their first steps into the world of employment. Belying their reputation with 'Generation X' – who are famously scrutinous of their younger counterparts - surveys suggest that the next wave of workers aren't only vehemently dedicated, but that their ideas are set to revolutionise the workplace.
We've compiled, from a list of reports and surveys, what current and future generations of workers will want from the Modern Workplace – and why business leaders should be listening to them.
Do a quick Google search (or don't, as we've just done it for you!) and you'll see one demand of the modern worker topping almost every list: Training. There's a voracious appetite among millennials for on-the-job development of skills.
Looking both forwards and backwards, it's not hard to see why. These workers will have lived through times of both economic hardship and technological revolution. Following the banking crisis of 2008, they've learned to appreciate job security from the past. They've also witnessed some of our generation's most meaningful, technological progress, so they know the pace of their technology will be faster than ever in the future. A survey by Dropbox indicates that employees now want to work slower and smarter, not harder and faster.
Yet adopting this new approach needn't come at the expense of your productivity. Common software such as Office 365, not to mention the capabilities of your Managed Print solution, make it easier than ever to automate your processes. For workers, that's less time spent on menial tasks and more time learning new ones.
Let's not mince words; Britain's socio-political landscape is tumultuous right now. As a result, younger employees want a more inclusive workplace where rights are equal and lifestyles are respected. Can't say fairer than that, really.
Management consulting firm BCG discovered that companies with higher diversity rankings – taking into account such factors as age, sex, race and education – saw greater innovation revenue. As we'll discover later in this blog, future employees will demand more options for flexible working solutions – but there's no reason that can't work for business leaders either. By embracing Remote Working, businesses can attract from a far wider pool of clients – potentially even those in differing time zones. By adopting cloud technologies, they'll also ensure that anyone, at whatever time and location, has access to crucial work files. It might not guarantee a more diverse workforce, but at the very least it makes it easier to start building one.
A study by Adobe suggests that modern workers are impeded and inundated by the constant flow of work emails – and with over 125 billion sent every day, that's not hard to believe.
Despite being one of the internet's earliest methods of communication, email has endured, seeing widespread use in the workplace every day. On one hand, that speaks for the email's enduring impact; on the other, workers are amassing years upon years of email contacts, making inboxes harder and harder to manage.
Thankfully, software such as Office 365 and VoIP solutions such as Horizon mean there are much easier ways for employees to stay in touch. It's not hard to imagine that employees will use Cloud, VoIP and SaaS solutions in the future to simplify communications, leaving email only to the most pressing and important of comms.
Modern workers are among your most tech-literate, and as such can harness technology for all manner of creative or intuitive purposes. This goes even further than your processes; think what this new entrepreneurial mindset can deliver for your social media and marketing campaigns, for example. Yet creative thinkers need room to flourish, and without offering a wider scope for your imaginative up-and-comers, you're limiting both their abilities and your business output.
Flexible working is a near-instant win for business looking to attract new talent. By understanding the unique skills of its individuals, the flexible business can offer working schedules, bonus initiatives and contracts that suit both the worker's and employer's expectations. Now might be a good time to review your Remote Working policies. Set fair and reasonable expectations of your remote workers, so you can be sure they're delivering when outside the office. Meanwhile, SaaS software such as Adobe Creative Suite and Office 365 create cloud-enabled environments where ideas flow freely and openly among your workers.
Process Automation means repetitive tasks – typically those that distract from more involving work – are instead entrusted to software. One of its more common forms is the scanning of common paperwork into a “Smart Document” format, where barcodes, serial numbers or other common formats are recognised and processed accordingly. This can even assist with GDPR and data security responsibilities – blocking out or deleting sensitive information as needed.
If you want to keep your employees working hard, start by keeping them engaged. The UK is currently struggling through a severe productivity gap, which Deloitte attributes to our workers' negative outlooks. 36% of employees feel that their work is, quite simply, without meaning. Worryingly, that statistic is double that of the entire EU. That's not all; when it comes to job stimulation and performance, UK employees once again trail their EU counterparts.
In a survey by global recruitment agency Robert Walters, career development, bigger salaries and more fulfilling roles made up the three biggest demands of the millennial worker. So make the best use of those training opportunities we spoke about earlier; train your teams in upcoming technology, or to learn those valuable skills that might currently be in short supply. Most importantly, remember how crucial job stability is for your workers. Train them in new skills, keep them motivated, and secure yourself employees that guarantee longevity – both to their role, and your business.
While the demands of the modern worker might sound a little ambitious, remember that technology is making them far more attainable than ever. Better yet, the collaborative potential of the Cloud, SaaS software and Remote Working means that the barriers between your workers and their technology are slowly being eroded. That's less time spent managing your infrastructure, and more time empowering your people.
For help modernising your teams, technologies and training, get in touch with Mirus. Our IT solutions support your size, strategy and budget, so you can start preparing for the Modern Workplace today. Call now to arrange a free Business IT Health Check.
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