The term modern workplace is frequently used once an organization introduces new products or software. However, transforming into a modern workplace requires much more than a new software package. An organization must evolve into a flexible environment that allows for continued communication and collaboration.
With new products, software, and practices being created and implemented daily, businesses need to adapt in order to remain innovative and competitive. In fact, according to several sources, these three workplace practices will become extinct in the very near future: (1) Email as a primary communication tool; (2) Traditional office spaces; and (3) The 9-to-5 schedule.
Organizations, both established and emerging, are working to create more modern environments for their staff that includes advanced communication and many other collaborative ways for employees and management to work. However, the modern workplace means far more than just modern tools for the staff. True modernization is having a fully collaborative workplace that’s integrated with technology in order to boost productivity.
Below are five characteristics that typically make up a modern workplace:
1. They Have a Mobile Workforce
Allowing employees to work remotely is a change that many businesses have already adopted. By 2020, mobile workers will account for nearly three-quarters (72.3%) of the U.S. workforce, according to a report from International Data Corporation (IDC). Most employees see the ability to work remotely as a huge benefit as it instantly introduces a more flexible work schedule. The ability to work remotely is a key aspect of the modern workplace for a few reasons. First, giving employees the option to work from a different location, such as their home, allows for a better work/life balance. They also don’t have to take as much time off from work due to the added flexibility.
Second, new features make it easier to have your team spread out and still be in constant communication. Applications from Microsoft like Skype for Business and OneDrive allow for people to stay in touch easier. OneDrive is a cloud based storage system that users can upload files to and access from various locations. Documents you’re working on in your office computer can be accessed on your laptop at home as well. This makes getting information as immediate as possible, expanding your reach and ensuring increased productivity.
2. They Collaborate Effectively
What exactly does it mean to have a collaborative workplace? It means having all people and products working together to get more done in the most efficient way possible. 39% of employees surveyed in a recent study felt that people within their organizations did not collaborate enough, while 86% of executives and employees cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.
Office 365’s online services let teams share and edit documents, schedule meetings, and collaborate in real time. This gets rid of multiple versions of a document that needs to be combined. Applications like Microsoft Teams provide a central network for teams to work on projects together. Others like Basecamp cater to helping teams know who is working on what and how to collaborate effectively with the projects assigned. That’s the point of true collaboration: working together, seamlessly, to get the best for your business.
3. They are Smarter with their Data
Companies are collecting more data and information from customers than ever. IDC reported that by 2020, 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second, for every person on Earth. With the massive influx of data, companies are in need of a better place to store it. What better way than to get rid of physical servers and switch to the more secure option of the cloud. The cloud offers more value and is more economical than traditional, physical storage.
Microsoft Azure is an integrated collection of cloud services to help businesses move faster, achieve more, and save money. This data is valuable and sometimes sensitive or confidential. With quite a few major breaches this past year, businesses need to be sure they have the best protection in place. Like any system, there is threat of attack but Microsoft Azure has been tested by the Security, Trust & Assurance Registry (STAR) and passed through three rounds of testing where many other companies stop after passing the first.
4. They Believe in Open Communication
A challenge many companies face while transitioning to a modern workplace is the idea of having decision makers separate from everyone else. Many new workers want to know what is going on within the company, like what decisions are being made and why. Open communication channels are a big step forward for companies.
Traditional email and the standard office meeting can only go so far. According to a survey conducted by Career Builder, 26% of employees think email is a major productivity killer, while 46% of employees rarely or never leave a meeting knowing what they’re supposed to do next. Group collaboration and social media tools may prove more beneficial. Yammer is a tool part of Office 365 that works as a private social media network for a business. It lets private groups be created and monitored by individuals or teams, such as an idea group run by one team where all can contribute. Modern workers want to feel valued at their companies, and they want their voices are being heard. Given that opportunity, employee loyalty and retention is certain to rise.
5. They Utilize Modern Tools
Tools are advancing at a rapid pace and your staff can benefit from being prepared on how to use the latest updates. Providing better tools and training leads to increased motivation, productivity, and engagement. More so, not using the most modern tools can keep your business from getting ahead. Imagine having a world full of smart phones, but your company still only had land lines. Whether it be tools or skills, it is important that your employees continue to grow and learn. Some organizations worry that investing in their employees will make it more likely for them to leave. According to the American Staffing Association, “68% of workers say training and development is the most important workplace policy, while 55% of employees say they think they could advance professionally if they were offered greater training opportunities.” Employees want to feel valued and continually investing in their development benefits both the employee and the business.
Becoming a modern workplace is easier than you think. The best way to go about it is to invest in your employees and the technology they use. Simple adaptation can lead to bigger changes and better innovation for your business. Above all, having those two key pieces of staff and technology in top shape can help your business collaborate more. Which leads to more productivity in the long run.