Full-time employees spend more time at work than they do with friends and family. That’s not going to change. But the location and type of work people do has become more varied — digital technologies demand new skills of employees. To profit from agility while remaining creative and productive, every company should have their own collaboration strategy and be open to new ways of doing things.
But what’s in store for us in the working world of tomorrow? Employees will get things done regardless of their location. You’ll be able to hold a telephone conference, work on spreadsheets, or write emails practically anywhere — in a café, in the park, or at the office, which in many cases already has all of the amenities of home. Employees will choose their own schedules and have greater influence due to flat hierarchies.
With tablets, smartphones, and laptops, employees are no longer chained to their desks. All a company has to do is give them the right hardware and software. That’s exactly the type of freedom and latitude that digital natives who are currently entering the workforce expect according to the study Fast Forward 2030 conducted by real estate service provider CBRE. Companies will also need to integrate their employees into a new type of collaboration. When there is no structure, unproductive chaos results — even if the study does ascribe to digital natives the ability to skillfully manage large groups of networked individuals.
Are hammocks set to replace desks?
Increased productivity is the promised result for companies that offer these new freedoms and the technology to support them. But not every employee can get things done in a hammock. It all depends on the task at hand and individual personalities. If one grants the wishes of some employees and offers maximum flexibility at work, then all employees basically require one thing: discipline and the ability to adapt to new situations quickly. The ability to organize oneself becomes an essential qualification. The skills that employees need to bring to the table are growing.
The Fast Forward 2030 study also uncovered weaknesses among digital natives. It found they lacked the ability to express themselves verbally and communicate efficiently with other people. Obviously, the working world of tomorrow will not be purely digital. Digital natives will thus need to acquire interpersonal skills as well.
Technology as a success factor?
Efficiency is generated in agile working environments to a large extent by developing suitable workflows. Hierarchies play a lesser role here. In tomorrow’s working world, corporate cultures will be characterized by flat hierarchies, flexibility, and cooperation. Business leaders should not risk underestimating these transformations.
Employees can be allowed to work with devices they choose and determine their own work-life-balance. This provides flexibility for families, early risers, and night owls. To accomplish this, managers should develop a network structure that makes it possible to access information regardless of time or place. An integrated knowledge management system is a key part of this foundation which connects each and every employee who is traveling or at their home office to a central source of truth where information can always be found and updated.
Bosses left powerless?
Some companies are going even further and simply forming ad hoc teams. The team lead varies from project to project. People work very independently. Bosses are expected to resist the temptation to be controlling — otherwise they risk undermining networks and sapping motivation. The less that bosses monitor the network, the more latitude they will leave their employees.
That enhances a company’s ability to innovate.
But the bosses remain important as leaders. They lead by the seat of their pants, not a plan, because things can change quickly. Managers of the future should be able to combine the agility of a start up with the efficiency of traditional hierarchies. That’s a tall order.
Securing centralized content
Before you plot out a pathway to the workplace of the future, your company should be aware of how resources that are being used can become truly productive. Which tasks require people to be on-site and meet face-to-face? How are workflows structured? How can you ensure people are reachable? How is knowledge exchanged? How should the office space be designed? Is it a place to connect with others, or should it have quiet areas where people can work undisturbed?
It’s safe to assume that the workplace will not advance in a linear manner. That’s why it’s important to secure knowledge in the network and make it accessible — even if things are changing rapidly at the company.
SABIO makes it possible. Want to learn more? Just give us a call at +49 (0) 40 / 85 19 27-0 or use our contact form: https://www.getsabio.com/contact/