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Tech-proofing the millennial workplace of the future

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/gpointstudio)

As the tradition of the 9.00 to 5.00 working day comes to an end, employees are beginning to take their jobs into their own hands. By staff taking advantage of flexible working hours and customisable hours, the workplace is experiencing an invisible revolution as a result. Staff are increasingly working from home and remote locations, and some businesses are choosing flexible workspace operators, like WeWork. These areas offer catered, shared working environments for organisations that want the flexibility of one-off spaces or smaller amounts of desk space, rather than long-term tenancies in office buildings. It’s becoming clear that the office of the future does not hold a fixed shape.

Now, employers must begin to think about how to equip this office – and how to staff it with the right talent. To do this, they need to meet the expectations of future workers - no mean feat as these expectations are continually changing and becoming more sophisticated. 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.

As worker expectations evolve, so must the abilities of employers, who need to recognise the impact that these demands will have on their workplace. Employers should prepare themselves to meet the needs of tech-savvy workers of the future, who will make up the workforce of tomorrow. Millennials are already dominating the workplace – 160 million currently make up the European workforce – and this figure is only set to increase, with millennials due to account for 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025.

The future generation of workers possess the digital skills that organisations need in order to achieve long-term success. They bring new perspectives and habits to the workplace, and their tech-savvy knowhow is invaluable. 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 tooled-up office could help with hiring these younger workers. 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.

Changing the view of the workplace

Businesses thus need to embrace the technology that will facilitate flexibility and collaboration, in order to attract these workers into roles. To achieve this, striking the right balance between keeping staff happy and getting the job done. 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 – to efficient and reliable AV set-ups that can create a successful, transparent and inspiring working environment.

For example, a projector that scales to rooms of any size will be core to meeting room set-ups, as they can help ensure that content discussed during meetings, brainstorms and presentations is clear and comfortable to view. Employees will be able to interact with the material, and consequently contribute effectively. A projector that also comes equipped with the latest collaboration and sharing tools will be fundamental to making meetings more engaging and creative, as these tools – which combine flipcharts, whiteboards and conventional screens into one unified solution – can encourage greater sharing and participation amongst colleagues.

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.

Advanced workplace technologies in today’s digital age give employees the ability to work creatively, multi-task and improve their productivity, while meeting their desire for cutting-edge tech in their working environment. These AV set-ups also provide an easy way for colleagues to share documents, and amend them in real time, from connected devices and through annotation on a projected display. In this way, meetings of all types can be made easy for team members in multiple locations. In the age of bring your own device (BYOD), tech that enables remote collaboration is essential. Not only for workers, who no longer wish to spend eight hours a day in an office, and for businesses themselves, who want to reduce the costs and eco footprint involved with transporting employees across countries and branches. Team meetings that happen on-site might soon become a thing of the past – with the right technology.

Employers need to change the way they view their workplace if they wish to attract the workforce of tomorrow. It is no longer just the jobs themselves that employees make their decisions based on; working environments also play a significant role.

As technology now plays a fundamental part in not only attracting employees, but enhancing existing employees’ performance, interactive projectors and other technologies are the way forward in creating a workplace that works for everyone.

Simone Martorina, Business Manager VI, Epson UK
Image source: Shutterstock/gpointstudio

Simone Martorina is a Business Manager VI at Epson UK.