Rights of passage? How and why the workplace may finally be growing up

Gareth Kershaw

Tuesday 16 July 2019

The workplace is changing, as are the dynamics that govern it. Next-generation consumer-centric tools will be key in transforming ‘traditional’ offices into spaces fit for the new-generation, digital-native workforce; devices and apps that drive more agile, flexible work styles and spaces while reinforcing security, enhancing productivity, and improving IT manageability. Technology in isolation isn’t enough of course, writes Gareth Kershaw, but it’s an easy jumping off point.

Millennials?! Gen Z?! Cuh! Spoilt, lazy, entitled, and demanding. So what if they get a bit of bad press. They kinda deserve it, right?

Well no, to be honest. Not really.

For one thing, while it’s true that every emerging generation tends to get a bit roasted by those that preceded it, this one does seem to be getting rather more than its fair share.

For another, given that Millennials and Generation Zs already make up 59% of the workforce* and that we old cynics will be leaning on them to look after us in our dotage, it might be an idea to start being at least a little nicer and more empathetic.

Last but not least, moreover, the truth is that our younger colleagues are busy doing the rest of us a favour. A pretty big one actually.

How so?

Because thanks in large part to the very sense of entitlement for which they are so often castigated, digital natives are proving hugely instrumental in driving the modernization of our working spaces and practices. Vital at a time when 75% of workers don’t believe they have access to the efficiency-boosting technologies they need**.

Members of the next-gen workforce want their careers to be ‘meaningful’; their working experiences to go beyond just the work itself. They’ve grown up studying, consuming, working, creating, and communicating digitally. Flexibly and remotely too. Is it really so unreasonable for them to expect their professional environments, devices, and tools to fit that pattern?

Especially when, as it turns out, meeting those expectations can be of enormous and material benefit to us all. That includes businesses themselves, many of which are now enjoying related benefits that directly impact bottom line.

One recent global study revealed, for instance, that those who consider their jobs ‘worthwhile’ are more willing to turn down higher-paying roles elsewhere*. While companies that focus heavily on the employee experience can expect to multiply their average profit returns by as much as a factor of four*.

How do organizations make such a transformation? By focusing on how people experience them on a day-to-day basis, according to the Manpower Group. And that means redesigning workplaces and practices around the employee, Manpower says; letting go of certain ingrained elements of ‘control’ in favour of more flexible tools and practices.

In doing so there will be lots to think about of course. Technology alone doesn’t equate to change. However fast, slick, and efficient a device is, it won’t be enough to foster the kind of culture of innovation that transforms the way people work if the underlying organizational mindset isn’t aligned with the same goal.

There are, however, plenty of quick wins out there.

Through technologies like Lenovo’s own ThinkBook range for example. Which deliver the speed, performance, productivity, and collaboration gains next-gen employees crave, while providing the durability, control, reinforced security, and improved IT manageability the business needs.

Features like modern Standby so users get their emails, IMs, and call alerts even with the lid closed. Super quick charging. Skype Hot Keys: one key to answer, one key to decline. Touch FPR on the power button for rapid, easy biometric authentication. Dolby Vision for fast, seamless collaboration. Microsoft Intune for enhanced endpoint device visibility and management. Intel Boot Guard for secure booting and wireless connectivity.

These are the kinds of everyday innovation that Lenovo works so hard to integrate into its offerings and that today’s users and businesses truly value.

So, is the workplace really growing up? It’s perhaps still too early to tell. But if it is then we owe greater thanks to our much-disparaged younger colleagues than many of us might care to admit.

 

* Manpower Group: Millennial Careers – 2020 Vision

** http://www.dunnsonline.com/blog/10-shocking-statistics-work-productivity/

 

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