The technology at work doesn’t deliver on the experience we have come to expect. Yes, expect. The way we work has changed, and our expectations around how we should work have changed. It’s no longer about working alone at a cubicle. Today it’s about collaboration and connectivity. Employees want to connect from home, in the car, at a customer’s site, or in the office and have the same experience in order to be productive.
And there are major drawbacks to ignoring the ways employees want to work. Research shows that over half of Canadian workers said that a workplace with antiquated technology – think traditional IP phones and conference lines – would cause them to reconsider their job. Workers also feel more engaged and connected to their organization when they are provided flexibility and the technology that allows them to collaborate. But less than a quarter of businesses are actually delivering what employees say they are looking for. There is a lot being left on the table.
Businesses need to adapt. Here’s how I think they can do that and how they’ll benefit:
Transform the workplace
If there is one key to delivering on what employees are looking for, it’s transforming the workplace. This doesn’t just mean the physical space – although that is part of it. In general, there are three pillars to do this:
- Physical space. On average, employees spend almost 50 per cent of their time away from their fixed workspace, so having an office full of cubicles isn’t all that effective. Look at work stations, meeting rooms, and public spaces to help bring people together and allow them to work more effectively.
- Having the right technology to allow employees simple and easy ways to connect and collaborate can help improve employee engagement and productivity. Some business look to achieve this by implementing multiple technologies and legacy systems, but employees get a better experience if the business uses one seamless system. It really comes down to providing the tools and technology that gives employees the ability to work in teams, no matter where they are.
- Work policies. As part of the transformation, the business needs to provide the right policies and environment to ensure the change runs smoothly and employees understand what’s changed, why and how it will help them. Policies can range from things like providing flexible hours, work-from-home options, to setting office norms and conduct based on an open workspace environment.
Benefitting the bottom line
There is a correlation between employee engagement and employee productivity – higher engagement means more productive employees. But the positives don’t end there. Higher levels of engagement (and productivity) can lead to less turnover, improve the customer experience, and benefit the bottom line.
The way that employees want to work has changed (and there is no going back). Mobile and collaboration technologies have integrated themselves too completely into our lives. If businesses can deliver a seamless, connected experience, they’ll see better engagement and productivity. Technology is moving business along at a rapid pace – now’s not the time to leave anything on the table.
Matthew Leppanen leads product management for Unified Communication and Collaboration solutions at Rogers.
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