Work has changed more in the last ten to 15 years than the previous 50. In fact, life as we know it is in a state of transition: everything around us is getting smarter, from PCs to conference room systems and lightbulbs. As humans and societies, we’re adapting and evolving the way we engage with our technologies. We produce more, consume faster and connect more conveniently. The challenge for businesses of all sizes is to keep up.
The age gap
Work is no longer where we go, it’s what we do. One of the biggest drivers behind this is simply the passing of years, which is leading to a workforce with a different demographic make-up than previously. By 2025, millennials and Generation Z will comprise 75% of the world’s workforce. This new group has wide ranging expectations of their roles and how they should be supported but many of these will be coming into companies that will still often be led by older generations.
These new generations that have grown up with modern technology, using and consuming it every day, wherever they are. And this isn’t something limited to just their personal lives. Younger employees regularly find themselves working on the kitchen table, on the train or the plane, indeed on projects spread across multiple geographies, time zones, industries, and disciplines.
Reacting to the modern workforce
The rising popularity of remote working adds pressure to existing collaboration tools and devices. Implementing workplace transformation initiatives means that organisations can be more dynamic as they are no longer bound by geography and can tap into diverse talent pools. Teams are becoming fluid and more energetic, which fuels creativity. They are also less hierarchical, instead organised around specific projects.
To meet this and take advantage of this agility, forward-thinking organisations must be able to deploy pre-configured or cloud-ready devices to their workforce. Smart vending allows employees to procure various IT products for themselves, from lightweight, fully configured laptops all the way down to a mouse, keyboard or headset. The smart part of these vending solutions takes the tedious paperwork out of the procurement process and empowers employees to focus on productivity, at the same time as having their own say in how they manage their workflow.
Best of all, this doesn’t need to mean massive costs to businesses. Everyone is focused on the bottom line, whether it’s a startup obsessing on breaking even on an investment or a multi-national worried about delivering a dividend to shareholders. That commercial focus means investment in tech is often seen as an afterthought. Smart devices of all types can now be procured thorough flexible “as-a-service” models, allowing businesses to focus on growth. With the right hardware, communication tech and security and support services, this will result in less time waiting for computer support to fix things and lead to a happier and more engaged workforce.
As the tech-savvy Generation Z enters the workforce, its members expect control over the types of technology available to them. They favour the technology they grew up with and use in other parts of their lives. They are readier than ever to take on the decision-making role around tech that was previously undertaken by the IT department. This doesn’t mean older employees, who are often leading workforces, will be left behind. They too will adapt to new technologies, as they understand how they make their job easier and the business run more smoothly.
Companies that succeed in workplace transformation, we believe, will elegantly balance those goals with inclusive cultural policies and personal touches that connect employees to new ways of working. In the very near future, thanks to 5G, we will experience the dawn of limitless connectivity. AI and IoT will fuel automation and immersion in augmented reality will edge closer than ever before. Technology will expand horizons and shape the way in which humans work. This is the era of intelligent transformation and these advances will contribute to a greater sense of good but, crucially, will improve the quality of life of workers globally.