Regarding ASG’s research around the “workplace of the future,” what do you think are the biggest cultural changes staff will be hoping for?Overwhelmingly, the biggest cultural change employees will be hoping for is the flexibility to work when and where they wish. Nearly 80 per cent of those polled asked for a “rethinking of working hours models and/or home or remote work.” As a result, any “wish” they may have around technology focuses on being able to use this flexibility and enjoy a positive work/life balance. Take for example, improved collaboration tools and secure access to information anywhere, on any device and at any time.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges to overcome in this regard?The biggest challenge in attracting top talent is the gap between the ideal workplace and where most companies are now. Only about one-third of companies have questioned employees about the workplace of the future, and at least 79 per cent of workplaces are far away from the ideal solution. The main fear from both companies and employees is the increased dependence on IT and an internet connection. There is also concern that staff will be expected always to be available due to employer and client expectations. Another challenge is the possibility of empty offices – where there is still a need to have some kind of office space but most employees are working remotely. Then there’s a risk to jobs, more precarious employment relationships, job cuts and fewer permanent positions.
What is your advice for businesses preparing to give staff a flexible and remote working schedule?As more information is generated from various devices and locations, bosses must not only understand what information they have access to, but also where that information is and will be stored to ensure security. They must look at their current repositories and determine the best mix of software to enable automatic storage without sacrificing flexibility or security. The next generation of workers are used to switching from laptop to smart phone to tablet without missing a beat. To deliver this flexibility in order to attract top talent, companies must re-evaluate BYOD and CYOD policies. Getting employees up and running on corporate devices can require HR and IT departments to perform complex onboarding steps that cost thousands of pounds and countless hours creating permissions and ensuring compliance across platforms for each employee. With a single-pane-of-glass experience, however, the onboarding process is streamlined.
What type of technology should bosses be looking to embrace if they want to maintain efficiency and attract top talent?As the first Generation Z graduates enter the workplace, the top talent amongst them will be in high demand. While each incoming peer group is an evolution of the one before it, Generation Z is different by far. They’ve never had to “look something up;” they’ve always “googled it”, and they’ve never had to use a landline or payphone. In other words, they are true digital natives. Companies hoping to attract the brightest and best must invest in office technologies that deliver an intuitive, easy-to-use, all-in one experience for these employees, while still allowing the business to retain control over content and stay compliant. This generation prefers to experience work in the same way they experience social channels: log in once, seamlessly navigate from one platform to the next and close out at the click of a button. The good news is that the rip and replace of legacy systems is not required to achieve this. An easy, cost-efficient and effective way that businesses can reach this ideal is by implementing digital workspace technologies which deliver a single-pane-of-glass experience, allowing employees to access all necessary information from any device.
As the work/life merge and BYOD trend continues, so do worries around security. Are there any protocols companies need to implement?With work no longer confined to being in the office, content and security must travel alongside employees. From the needs of the remote workforce, to multi-person review cycles that generate numerous versions of the same file, a single document can travel across a variety of locations, devices and business units in minutes. This can result in various security issues, including inadequate redaction, which allows unauthorised parties access to sensitive data and even violation of location-based regulations. Employees cannot – and should not – be responsible for ensuring that these protocols are met. Instead, companies must evaluate technologies that are able to mitigate this risk by enveloping sensitive documents in a policy wrapper that travels with the file, no matter where it goes, ensuring the appropriate permissions and restrictions are in place. To deliver this flexible, mobile experience, companies are operating on top of complex infrastructures involving multiple applications both on-premises and in the cloud. IT teams are tasked with keeping track of security and permissions for each employee, making it easy for pieces to fall through the cracks. By creating a single profile that extends across platforms, processes are streamlined, allowing IT to manage rules from one location.
What should smaller companies take into account when pursuing better workplace productivity – and is there something to learn from big businesses?Employees will have the same needs and desires, whether they work for a large enterprise or SME. They are influenced by the same forces as we all are as consumers and want to use whatever method they can to be the most productive and efficient. Therefore, if they are not provided with the most appropriate tools for communications and collaboration, they may introduce rogue devices through the back door – not through any malevolence but purely because they want to use the quickest route to complete a task. Learning from bigger counterparts, small businesses must treat employees as individuals and make security provisions to ensure they can use whichever device they find most efficient.
Share this story