The workplace of today is undergoing an invisible revolution – and the era of the 9.00 to 5.00 working day is becoming a thing of the past.
Employees are increasingly customising their hours and taking advantage of flexible working practices; staff are increasingly working from the comfort of their own home and remote locations, while some businesses are choosing flexible workplace operators like WeWork. With these spaces, shared working environments are offered – giving businesses the flexibility of temporary spaces or a smaller number of fixed desks. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the workplace of the future does not have a fixed shape.
Now, employers must consider how they need to equip this office – and how to staff it with the right talent. They need to meet the expectations of future employees – no mean feat, as these expectations are continually changing and becoming more complex. A UK workforce survey has shown that 93 per cent of workers want to choose both the hours they work and the place they work from. And, as the number of jobs offering flexible working rise, people are turning down roles that don’t offer this option.
With evolving worker expectations comes the need for an evolving workplace. Employers must recognise the impact that these demands will have on their office – and be ready to meet the needs of digitally-driven future employees, who will make up the workforce of tomorrow. Today, millennials already dominate the modern workplace – 160 million currently make up the European workforce – and are set to account for 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025.
The millennial workforce possess the digital skills that businesses need to achieve long-term success. They bring new perspectives and behaviours to the workplace, and their tech-savvy knowhow is vital. Consequently, companies must tailor their office set-ups to their needs and expectations, as the numbers of this age continue to swell the working ranks. Research has shown that 25-to-34-year-olds are the most enthusiastic age segment about tech-enabled working conditions. So, when it comes to recruitment, a well-equipped workplace could help with hiring the younger workforce. That includes those towards the older end of the spectrum, already in full-time work and potentially seeking work elsewhere, and those coming out of further education and looking to start their first job.
Businesses thus need to embrace the technology that will facilitate flexibility and collaboration, in order to attract these workers into roles. Firms should provide effective workplace technologies that can help engage and attract workers, whilst enabling collaboration and creative thinking. They are likely to be more successful in their employee hiring and staff retention efforts compared to the firms that don’t. This goes beyond the laptops, work mobiles and tablets that are becoming regularly supplied by rote to employees – for example, to efficient AV set-ups that can create transparent and inspiring working environments.
According to some studies, millennials are natural team players and collaborators thanks to regular participation in team sports and increased classroom collaboration in group projects during their education. In contrast to previous generations, millennials feel more engaged and productive when they are part of an interactive team, with 88 per cent expressing their preference for a collaborative rather than competitive work culture. When used effectively, technology can be the enabler that encourages this style of working, and helps businesses get the most out of their employees. As tech now plays a fundamental role in not only attracting new employees, but in increasing the performance of existing employees – new technologies, such as interactive technology, can go a long way in making a workplace work for everyone.