Companies are faced with many challenges while building and maintaining modern workplaces
Gone are the days when workplaces were associated with traditional, desk-bound 9 to 5 jobs. Today, businesses are increasingly shifting towards new ways of getting work done, which gives more importance to employee flexibility and autonomy.
Businesses are more globalized, and workplaces often consist of employees and partner ecosystems from all over. It is now very common to see rows of people working in coffee shops with their headphones in and a steaming cup next to them or an employee who prefers to work remotely or from a client’s location.
The workplace as we know it is changing and technology is playing a huge role in influencing both where we work and how we interact.
Companies that want to attract and retain top talent in today’s app economy need to adapt their culture and technology to accommodate this shift in attitudes.
Challenges while building modern workplaces:
However, companies are faced with many challenges while building and maintaining modern workplaces. Examples include:
- Managing a diverse workforce - The workforce today is more diverse than ever before. Millennials now make up the majority of the workforce and are maturing into leadership positions. Generation Z is joining the workforce. Baby Boomers are returning to work as consultants or temporary workers. It is not uncommon for a company's workforce to be comprised of as many as five generations of workers. Organizations are in a tough position today as they are required to manage the expectations of this diverse workforce and ensure that they provide technology and facilities that cater to this varied audience.
- Demand for flexibility. Due to traffic conditions in our cities and the need from the workforce to maintain a better work-life balance, employees prefer to work with organizations that allow them to work when and how they want. In the modern workplace, flexibility plays a crucial role. If companies do not encourage the flexible working culture, they are at the risk of losing out on top talent.
- Distractions in open office - Due to rising real estate costs in India, many companies today opt for open offices. However, most employees can’t escape the noise and interruptions coming from their co-workers. According to a recent survey by Poly, workers in India spend the least time at their primary workspace compared to other countries and spend the highest amount of time working with others. Not surprisingly then, India was the country with the highest number of people reporting being “always” distracted at work.
How can CIOs manage the expectations?
CIOs play a critical role in creating modern offices as they are the experts on key workplace technology. They have a significant role in making sure that they offer the best employee experience. In order to create modern workplaces, it is important for CIOs to work closely with company leaders and human resources to build an energized and collaborative workforce.
A few tips for CIOs to build the modern workplace include:
Provide greater choice and control over collaborative spaces
Today’s workers increasingly depend on technology to achieve high levels of productivity. They expect to connect instantly, work smarter, produce outcomes and drive results quicker. Technology-enabled huddle rooms satisfy this need for real-time, productive collaboration and are now, more than ever, an important component in an organization’s digital transformation journey. Huddle rooms are ideal for today’s workspaces for teams who want to be mobile, connected and highly collaborative.
CIOs should work on creating strategically placed small meeting spaces that are designed to empower people to meet quickly and easily. A huddle room must be equipped with:
- Powerful video collaboration, so employees can get the most out of their meetings
- High quality audio, content, and video
- Easy to use technology
Implement technologies that support anywhere working and open workspaces
With the build of high-speed broadband networks across Asia Pacific and increased 4G penetration in India, technology can now give people the freedom to work the way they want. Regardless of their location, today’s multi-generational workforce wants the ability to work and collaborate in a very human way that gets the job done and employers need to provide flexible working policies to attract and retain their best talent. CIOs must implement collaboration technologies such as video conferencing which supports this culture.
Also, the workplace itself has moved away from rows of cubicles to more open workspaces and offering employees flexible work arrangements. CIOs must embrace solutions that support new technology innovations, like noise cancellation, lighting adjustments and digital white-boarding.
Allowing more technology choice within workplace
Employees expect to be able to use their personal phones, tablets, even some wearables, and experience the same performance in the workplace as they do at home. They want a single platform to run both their work and personal lives. Smooth integration of these devices with enterprise applications is a must, and it must happen without compromising data security or network function.
The latest cloud collaboration systems operate across devices and platforms, giving IT leaders the ability to connect employees while retaining control of company systems. CIOs can navigate these changes if they have the right collaboration tools at their fingertips.
The way we think and feel about work has changed drastically over the past 10 years, and will continue to shift over the next 10. Ultimately the changing expectations of the worker and their impact on enterprise IT deployments can be summarized under three business pillars: Workspace, experience and workflow. It’s the desire to collaborate anywhere, in a natural way and with impact. Workers don’t just want unified communications, they are demanding high quality mobile and cloud solutions that are woven into their business functions.
The CIO is at the center of significant technological and marketplace shifts and must take the lead in ensuring senior leaders understand how the world is changing and the role that collaboration technologies will play in strengthening customer loyalty, optimizing resources and driving innovation.
Only the most connected and collaborative organizations can ensure that they can prepare for the workplace and thrive in the workforce of the future.
The author is Managing Director for Poly India & SAARC