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How businesses can prepare for the workplace of the future

(Image credit: Image Credit: Bbernard / Shutterstock)

There has been a lot of attention on how millennials are shaping the workplace in recent years, but it’s time to shift some of the focus to the millennials’ future co-workers – Generation Z. This group is comprised of those born between 1995 and 2010, which means that the oldest members of this age group are already beginning to enter the workforce.

Generation Z is comprised of an estimated 2.52 billion young adults, which is significantly bigger than previous generations. In fact, people under the age of 20 represent almost 24 per cent of the current UK population. This emerging group of digital natives won’t remember life before computers or smartphones, and their confidence and skill across digital platforms will be unprecedented compared to previous generations. With this group set to shake-up the workplace, we’ve outlined how businesses can prepare their organisation for the next generation of workers. 

Kids predict the future of technology in the workplace 

More so than previous generations, technology is a way of life for Generation Z; it easily plays a central role in most of their lives. Gen Zers are optimistic – even visionary – when it comes to predicting the future of technology in the workplace. Meetings in space? Computers linked to our brains? This may sound far-fetched now, but in the future these technologies could well be a reality.

With this in mind, we surveyed 12-15 year olds and asked them what technologies they expect to use when they enter the workforce in 10-15 years’ time. The majority answered driverless cars (66 per cent), with 47 per cent holding out hope for robot assistants to help them with administrative tasks. Other technological enhancements foreseen by Gen Z includes artificial intelligence (41 per cent) and virtual offices (38 per cent).

When asked what technology means to them, many of the responses centred on how technology ‘makes lives easier’ and ‘makes life better’, as well as how technology ‘assists people’ or ‘helps and entertains humans’. For others, technology was about the ‘new’ – such as ‘innovations’ and ‘gadgets’ that they can use to talk to friends or do homework, while some simply stated that technology is ‘the future’.

This raises the question: how can businesses prepare for this generation to enter the workface? And how can they prepare their operations for technology that hasn’t even been invented yet?

Preparing for Generation Z

It’s clear that technology now plays a central role in every child’s life and their expectations on how they will use innovative technology when they enter the workplace are extremely high. To meet these demands, businesses need to prepare for the next generation of technology and the many more data points they bring. Ten years ago, we would never have imagined the technology we have today. The rise of the internet of things (IoT) and AI has created a world full of connected things that have completely transformed how we live our working and personal lives. The introduction of more applications will create a greater network of connected things delivering and receiving information. Businesses will therefore need to be able to move, manage, govern and orchestrate this data to adapt and grow for the future.

Building a design for life 

When it comes to building a business for the future, you want to think about it like your ‘forever home’. In your ‘forever home’, you will want the flexibility to change your bathroom suite or kitchen over time, to tie in with the current trends, and when you do, you will want the plumbing and foundations to remain watertight and sturdy enough to support the new additions. In short, companies need to future proof their businesses for the things they will want to plug in, that haven’t even been invented yet.

What’s more, businesses need to ensure their systems are fit for purpose. This is where companies should turn their attention to smart resourcing in a bid to prepare for the future. Built on the Pareto principle, this means following an 80/20 rule. Organisations ideally want 80 per cent of their expensive resources – such as coders – to do the complex, challenging tasks that focus on digital innovation and give a business a competitive advantage. The remaining 20 per cent of their time can then be used to complete the repetitive, mundane but necessary tasks. Once employees are working to this ratio successfully, organisations can then look towards low code applications that can do the mundane tasks faster, with the aim to potentially move to a 90/10 rule.

It’s about getting the right people to do the right things. You want your smartest coders designing the next best software products, not doing ‘the plumbing’ as they are an expensive resource. Based on this principle, businesses are better able to build a bridge between what’s here today and the future, enabling parts of the business to choose what’s best for it. A trusted integration solution, built in the cloud, with its ability to move, manage, govern and orchestrate data and processes, frees up people to do more strategic things and consequently, businesses are better positioned to adapt and grow. Only with this in place can businesses embrace new innovations and easily transfer data, in real-time, between applications which proves invaluable in remaining competitive.

Looking ahead 

It’s clear that Generation Z is set to transform the workplace - combine this with innovations in technology and the workplace could soon be transformed beyond our imagination. Technology has become an integral part of young adult’s life, and their expectations on how they will use this when they enter the workplace are extremely high. To deliver on these hopes, companies need to start future proofing their businesses for the apps, data and ‘things’ they will want to plug in, from robot assistants to virtual offices.

The introduction of more applications will create a greater network of connected devices delivering and receiving information. Being able to seamlessly move, manage, govern and orchestrate this data will enable businesses to easily adapt for future technological innovations. Only with this in place can businesses truly be prepared for the next generation of workers and technology that hasn’t even been invented yet.

Ian Currie, EMEA Director Dell Boomi
Image Credit: Bbernard / Shutterstock

Ian Currie
Ian Currie is EMEA Director at Dell Boomi, the leading provider of cloud integration and workflow automation software to build The Connected Business.