Embrace it or Delay it: You Can’t Escape it
Welcome to the first in our blog series on the Modern Workplace. Before getting into the ‘what’, we answer the ‘why’.
Why is the Modern Workplace central to our success? What are the five key trends influencing and reshaping the world of work?
Full Speed Ahead Mr Sulu, Maximum Warp
By some estimates, change is happening ten times faster and at 300 times the scale of the First Industrial Revolution. This change is so momentous, it’s called the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The only thing we can be sure of is that the pace of change is going to accelerate. It’s imperative that business leaders are ready to respond.
And many of you are responding. The International Data Corporation report that two-thirds of Forbes Global 2000 CEOs put digital transformation at the heart of their corporate strategy.
To Boldly Go into Your Future, You Need to ChangeDisruption. It’s a negative word for change, isn’t it? Adapting to change is rarely easy for organisations – nor for the people employed by them.
For many of us, legacy systems and traditional working practices aren’t perfect, but at least they’re familiar. And you can draw comfort from the knowledge that even the tech Gods at Microsoft have grappled with the challenges of digital transformation.
Watch Paul Bolt – Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer – talk about how Microsoft isn’t immune to disruption.
There Are Three Things to Remember About Being a Starship Captain
“Keep your shirt tucked in, go down with the ship, and never abandon a member of your crew.”
- Captain Janeway
A Harvard Business Review found that 78% of senior executives in enterprise businesses believe fostering a modern workplace strategy is essential. However, only 31% think their company is forward-looking enough to do so.
A change in the workplace demands a shift in culture. And culture begins with people: you, your team, and your (hopefully forward-looking) stakeholders.
Whether you boldly go willingly or not, the inescapable fact is that the workplace is changing, along with everyone’s expectations of it.
According to Microsoft, five core trends are reshaping the culture of work. Microsoft believes these trends matter because they highlight the opportunities - and challenges - we’re facing.
As you’d expect, the behemoth has created clever solutions in response. A new generation of Modern Workplace technologies is empowering people in unprecedented ways. We’ll cover them later in this blog series.
So, what are the workplace trends we need to embrace?
Workplace Trend One: The Rise of Digital Natives
Today’s workforce spans four generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. Joining us are some new faces - Generation Z. By 2025, Millennials will be 75% of the global labour market.
How does this influence the workplace? Because the latest generations include the first digital natives. They’ve grown up with social media and live online. Connecting with people has no geographical, time or device boundaries. For digital natives, this is how the world’s meant to operate – including at work.
Increasing numbers would appreciate the flexibility to work remotely, including two thirds of millennials. Remote working affords advantages for employers and employees alike: Are remote workers more engaged and productive?
Workplace Trend Two: Blurring boundaries of time and place
That was place, not space. We don’t want to over-egg the Star Trek thing.
It’s rare to find a company that doesn’t depend on a network of external partnerships. Business is conducted around the clock, away from offices and on different devices.
Our interconnected world makes it essential for collaboration and information sharing to work not only inside a company, but across teams spanning diverse businesses and communities.
Workplace Trend Three: Demand for lifelong learners
As the scale and pace of change propel us forward, a critical trait for employees is adaptability.
A mere generation ago, the knowledge people gained in their academic years supported them all their working lives. Today, according to a report by the World Economic Forum, about 50% of what students learn during their degree will be out-of-date by the time they graduate.
As technology automates routine tasks, attributes such as imagination, ingenuity, empathy and creativity are increasingly prized. And because everything is going at 100mph, people must often adjust on the job, with little practice or training.
Alongside traditional learning - such as induction or certification programmes - companies need to explore new ways of developing their workforce. For example, on-demand learning, peer mentoring and open knowledge sharing.
Workplace Trend Four: Shrinking Shelf life of Information
It’s the age of information overload. The speed and volume that new data are created is driving companies to rethink their information management strategies.
The rapid rate of information has resulted in shrinking shelf life. Much of our content comes in bite-sized tweets and posts, often at the cost of quality and depth.
The ability to find actionable insights from data can be onerous, but it’s fundamental to success. We have more data than ever on our customers, products, competitors and markets. Yet it’s estimated that less than half a per cent of digital data is analysed and used to enhance business performance.
Here’s the rub. According to a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study, 63% of enterprise leaders believe in the value of machine learning, artificial intelligence and visualisation tools to turn vast amounts of data into useful insight. But only 14% say their company is harnessing this power.
Underutilised data is lost potential. Across the pond in healthcare, for example, better integration of big data could save as much as $300 billion a year. Retailers who leverage the full power of data could increase their operating margins by as much as 60%.
Workplace Trend Five: Growing Impact of Artificial Intelligence
One of the hallmarks of our era is how AI and machine learning is seeping into every aspect of work. According to PwC, come 2030 advances in AI will boost global GDP by $15.7 trillion.
It’s not only robots doing physical labour on factory floors. AI is helping medical professionals diagnose diseases and lawyers search vast databases of cases in seconds instead of weeks.
The real value of AI will come as the computational power of machines combines with the cognitive ability of people. We’ll use computers to analyse towering piles of data and spot patterns beyond the detection of the human eye alone.
Digital transformation is inevitable and essential. Success will only come with a cultural shift. This won't always be comfortable or easy, but it’s exciting. We hope this blog inspires you to think about the opportunities for your business. We know you can’t do it alone and are here to help you thrive in a world of new possibilities.