Is Your Office Where You Are? Planning for the Workplace of the Future
Flexible work environments that support anytime-anywhere working, along with collaboration, creativity and engagement, have become a requisite for talent recruitment and retention. So how should IT teams prepare today for tomorrow’s workplace?
Transforming yesterday’s office into today’s “employee experience center”
The workplace is in the midst of a seismic shift. At the dawn of the Internet age, some workplace experts predicted the death of the office or, at the very least, a massive reduction in corporate facility square footage.
But that’s not what happened. Offices are smaller today than in the past—but not because no one wants to be there. Instead, the concept of workplace has evolved, and many of today’s young workers want to be there at least some of the time. Millennials have become the largest generation in the U.S. workforce as of 2015. As digital natives, their experience with technology is nearly innate and often driven by the desire for connection. Millennials are accustomed to sharing and many prefer a menu of workspace options that includes the corporate facility, along with the home office or coffee shop.
No-brainer: Smart technology is critical
Flexible IT infrastructure will be critical for the workplace of the future. A full quarter of the world’s economy will be digital by 2020, according to 2016 Accenture analysis, underscoring the need for tech-centric workplace strategy.
Strategic application delivery, mobility and security, virtualization and agile network infrastructure can all help improve the workplace experience. Following are a few considerations for integrating technology into the workplace of the future:
- Adopt nimble IT. An agile workforce needs an agile IT infrastructure, especially in organizations that are growing quickly or engaged in frequent mergers and acquisitions. Choose systems that support both latest business processes and ease of use, while reducing operational costs. For example, XenDesktop delivers centralized desktop virtualization that supports all users and apps, while Cisco Unified Computing SystemTM simplifies physical and virtual networks to reduce cost and add flexibility.
- Enable mobility—and security. The rise of work-anywhere workshifting means employees need reliable, secure access to work applications on mobile devices, while the organization needs the ability to remotely wipe corporate data in case of theft or employee departure. Tools like XenMobileprovide this granular control of devices without inconveniencing users, while networking appliances like NetScaler improve the performance and security of applications delivered via the Web.
- Choose tools that foster broad engagement. Video-conferencing, multimedia collaboration tools and secure connections to data are all must-haves for helping workers connect with their teams and their organizations—and can build customer engagement, too. In the same vein, find ways to maximize chance encounters or “collisions” between team members, which too spark collaboration and innovation.
- Think outside the tech box. Forward-thinking technology doesn’t operate in a silo, so IT teams should collaborate with HR and other business leaders in a broader conversation about the business. What challenges could you solve together? What kind of working is realistic today and into the future? What strategies will most help attract and retain employees and engage customers (or patients)?
The bottom line: to create the workplace of the future, start with the tech team of the future and focus on the employee (and customer) experience.