Technology in the workplace used to mean a computer, copier, and fax machine. The rapid adoption of digital and mobile technologies, however, have changed the way we work. Employees are now constantly online thanks to the smartphone in their pockets, connecting teams across geographic boundaries, regardless of their location.
Technology is no Longer a Luxury
Millennials are now the largest demographic group in the workforce. By 2025, the most technologically-savvy group in history will represent 75% of the world’s workers. They’ve literally grown up with mobile tech in their hands. Many haven’t used a cellphone without a camera or an internet connection. So it’s no wonder they have high expectations related to technology in the workplace.
A Deloitte study shows just how important tech is to Millennials. More than three quarters of respondents born in the 1980’s and 1990’s say they are strongly influenced in their job search by a business’ level of innovation and technology adoption. Innovation isn’t just about creativity, but also the tools used to create. Technology, and being equipped with the latest developments that suit your business needs, is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity that helps you ensure your growth.
An Agile Workplace
Agile workplaces create not only a sense of innovation, but provide clusters for work groups and teams. By providing the technology and tools necessary for particular tasks, you’re doing your part to empower your employees to perform at their highest level.Collaborative technologies encourage teamwork and idea generation to fine tune new or existing products or services, and drive new opportunities for growth, and are especially attractive environments to the Millennial cohort.
Creating an open environment where people work in teams instead of a traditional hierarchy and top-down management, agile workplaces allow for a greater sense of shared purpose.
This is important. Millennials view operational structures and procedures as the biggest impediment to innovation in the workplace. Sixty-three per cent say management attitudes and a lack of flexibility are barriers to great work, according to Deloitte.
Millennials are used to working both independently and in teams. Because they have grown up with mobile technology, they are more comfortable than previous generations in connecting digitally rather than in person. They prefer to do their work in a comfortable environment, rather than sitting at a desk all day or tucked away in an office.
In fact, 70% of Millennials prefer to work digitally. This may mean remote locations, tied together by technology. An agile workplace provides a central hub where workers can come together when needed, but remain connected when they need to collaborate with other team members virtually.
Staying current with the latest technology offerings comes at a cost, but also represents a way to maximize productivity. Consider technology purchases an investment that have the opportunity for a quick return-on-investment.
There are also savings opportunities. Maybe your business doesn’t need that big fancy office, where only half the space you’re paying for is used on a regular basis. Could that money you’re dumping into a building lease be used more effectively elsewhere, such as investments in technology? Most likely.
Mobility and Flexibility
Agile workplaces, coupled with the right technology, allow for flexibility. Laptops, smartphones, and video conferencing prevents workers from having to return to the office every time they need to collaborate with their peers. Sharing tools allow for distribution of documents and online collaboration to maximize efficiency.
Digital-savvy workers are used to chance encounters online. Whether it’s social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, or more work-related sites like LinkedIn, they’ve become accustomed to seeing a diversity of voices, opinions, and comments. In the workplace, having an environment that creates an open atmosphere is not only valued, but necessary.
While some jobs need uninterrupted focus, and demand a quiet environment, other tasks and projects are completed more effectively in communal areas. A survey of more than 2,000 professionals by Sure Payroll shows office limitations have a direct impact on productivity and job satisfaction:
- 61% say loud colleagues are the biggest office distractions
- 86% prefer to work alone when they need max productivity
- 40% consider co-workers stopping by their workplace to be a major distraction
An agile workplace allows workers to move to the right place at the right time and avoid distractions to get their work done efficiently.
Working at Home
Even if your office doesn’t currently allow working from home, no doubt you’ll have employees ask about it in the future. Today’s digital tech allows many workers to literally work from anywhere. The transition can be difficult for more traditional managers, but there are significant cost and productivity benefits that result from allowing employees to work from home.
Gallup Research shows that 43% of U.S. employees, for example, are working remotely. FlexJob estimates more than 9 million people currently work from home at least half the time – an increase of more than 5 fold since 2005.
The digital revolution has also changed how businesses interact with their customers. It’s not limited to researching and buying online, but there’s now an expectation that businesses will be able to respond quickly whenever a customer has an inquiry. That means having employees trained on Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Instagram, to provide your customers with an instant response. It means having access to information to answer inquiries regardless of when it occurs, wherever you are.
A Harvard University study shows the percentage of consumers using Twitter for customer service has jumped 70% in the past 3 years. And 30% of social media users prefer to communicate with businesses via social media rather than calling by phone or sending an email.
Summing it Up
Equipping your employees with the right technology is no longer optional, it’s a necessity. Providing the tools your employees need to foster communication and collaboration helps them be more productive, and grows your business in a more scalable way.
Technology is also critical in attracting and retaining a new generation of digitally-savvy employees that expect to have the tools they need to do their jobs in the most effective ways.
If you would like more information about virtual office, shared workspaces, co-working or office rentals, contact Agile Offices today to see how we can help your business grow.