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Unified workspaces and the future of the desktop

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/gpointstudio)

The modern workplace has transformed significantly in the past decade. With more organisations embracing flexible and remote working patterns outside the traditional 9-5 office hours, the need to provide the tools to enable staff to navigate these modern working practices has taken priority for many businesses. By utilising  these tools, employees will be granted the ability to work efficiently and securely, no matter where or when they work.. This way of working has been enhanced  through the latest, innovative technology, created to improved productivity, efficiency and collaboration whilst maintaining a  secure and easy to use infrastructure. 

Traditionally, a business’ end user IT infrastructure would consist of desktop computers, servers, software licenses and IT support. However, with the evolution of cloud technology, mobile devices and faster internet speeds, there are a host of technology solutions empowering staff to adopt new ways of working. 

A key factor in the changing business landscape is the workforce itself which has become increasingly dominated by millennials and gen z; holding their own work patterns and values. It is estimated that millennials and generation z will each make up 35% of the UK workforce by 2020 meaning that more businesses need to look at adopting new ways of working an abandoning antiquated practices.

For the new generation of millennials in the workplace, traditional working patterns are largely outdated with employers needing to provide more flexible alternatives. Due to this, employee satisfaction is being raised, creating a better quality of work for  staff. Employees are beginning to dismiss the pressure of being in the office from the traditional hours of 9-5, which is proving to be beneficial to the employer and employee, as 36% of employees said they would pick working remotely over a pay raise. With these kind of figures, it can be concluded that employees are now transitioning  to a digital work spaces and experiencing the benefits it entails. 

The benefits of a unified workspace

It has been reported that 90% of organisations say digital workspaces help employees collaborate more effectively. This high approval rate is justified through a combination of beneficial aspects, which explains as to why so many businesses and moving to cloud based platforms. 

Organising external work meetings with clients or partners can be time consuming with  location, time and discussion points needing to be carefully selected in advance of the event. This can lead to crucial time being taken out of usual office hours, meaning individuals are at risk of falling behind at work. In addition, projects and new ideas can be delayed as they are kept on stand by until discussed, which can delay productivity and new projects being pursued. However, businesses can now choose a faster alternative by holding conference meetings within cloud platforms, both parties can save time on travel. With this spare time, meetings can take place more frequently, meaning work flow can be discussed and executed in a faster time frame, increasing vital productivity. 

Working within a unified platform, employees with the appropriate access can view and work on collaborative documents. This replaces the lengthy process of printing out a document and waiting for another colleague to proofread a single  piece of work. By working within the digital platform, colleagues can view the document online and collaborate when needed - making suggestions and changes. This approach can lead to enhanced productivity and less time a project might be on hold waiting for one person to provide their feedback. 

In addition to this, working on a cloud platform allows employees to work flexibly and remotely. This enables staff to work where they feel most comfortable and where they believe they will work most productively. This ability solves many previous office issues that can cause a delay in efficiency. If an individual is unable to get to the workplace due to illness or any other reason, they are able to complete their work in the most convenient location where they have access to the internet.  As an employer this allows you to access and monitor staff’s work and productivity whilst they are out of the office. This ensures that the amount of work being done is sustained whilst an individual is away from their desk. 

The future of the desktop

In July 2019, Gartner released its annual ‘The 2019 Hype Cycle for Unified Workspaces’ which focuses on how changes in people, processes and technologies redefine the end-user computing (EUC) experience.

Gartner recognises the innovations in this hype cycle as “the future state of people-centric computing.” The recent transaction is being driven by the comparison of workplace technologies with consumer offerings, the increasing number of ways applications and data can be delivered, and the speed at which new devices are introduced to the market.

With this being said, it is becoming ever more apparent that traditional desktops are falling short of digital relevance and are inevitably becoming a thing of the past. Companies that have made this shift to cloud platforms and unified workspaces are now saving money, a recent report showed that 70% of organisations reinvested cloud savings back into their business. This is proving to be beneficial in all aspects of the workplace and is allowing employees to work to their full potential. 

Desktops have the risk of being unreliable and don’t offer the flexibility of their cloud-based counterparts. For example, if a new update needs installing the user would have to manually do this and wait for this to be completed in order to continue with their work. These hindrances  would also be apparent when a technical issue occurs; leading to IT services needing to be contacted to resolve the problem. 

However, using a cloud platform minimises system downtime due to its  ability to flag and fix any issues that become apparent on the system. This task can also be completed when the hard drive is not in use, therefore, causes the end users no disruption. In terms of security, the platform has the AI to recognise any potential threats and risks that could be present and flags this to the user. This feature contributes to the prevention of cyber attacks or any data being stolen. 

Within their report, Gartner recommends investing in this technology because it enables an agile and personalised workplace and considerably reduces the cost of such a radically simplified environment. Overall, Gartner estimates the benefits of the technology to be “high”. In addition, it recommends choosing a workspace solution that is scalable, cloud-based, and context-based.

It is important that businesses recognise the change in the modern day workplace and expand their digital tools to cohere with this movement. Employers should consider the current technology they are using and ensure whether it is what their staff need to remain productive. By adapting to a unified workspace it’ll deliver both employers and their employees a new flexible way of working which allows them to increase efficiency, productivity in a secure environment. 

Dominik Birgelen, CEO, oneclick

Dominik studied business administration at the University of Zurich. Since 2015, he has been the CEO of oneclick AG and is responsible for the development of international markets.