With unprecedented numbers of employees working from home, it’s widely acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the driver behind disruptive change in the ways we work, learn and live. In a time when technology was already developing at a rapid pace, that single event accelerated enterprise IT roadmaps by at least a couple of years. The question now is, what does this massive shift mean long-term for the enterprise workforce?
Recognizing and embracing workforce differences
As we’ve seen this year, the ubiquity of mobile technologies for our phones, laptops and tablets means the “where” of work does not require spending every day in a traditional office. Within an increasingly diverse workforce consisting of multiple generations, each generation brings its own set of expectations and attitudes about technology. This workplace flexibility appeals to many younger employees, as well as older workers who find it advantageous for attending to family matters that would otherwise take them away from the office.
There is no going back to the way we were. The tools and resources that enable individuals and teams to communicate with each other from different locations will become even more crucial in the years ahead.
Speaking as a Baby Boomer and with more than 30 years in the industry, I’ve seen how each generation has developed communication preferences, and how succeeding generations are quick to adopt the ‘latest and greatest’ technologies. These changes are generally positive and at times disruptive as they introduce an entirely new dynamic and challenges for employers. Anywhere, anytime, anyhow communications have become the norm. Connectivity must be effortless, ubiquitous and facilitate the easy exchange of communication and ideas.
Adapting to new environments are more important than ever
The adage of “the only thing constant is change” has never been truer than in today’s digital age. Change is happening faster, increasingly hard to predict, and is forcing a dramatic re-thinking of the relationship between people and technology. Do we resist change and risk being left behind in the trash heap of obsolete thinking and technologies? Or, do we adapt and embrace the change, channeling the resulting new technologies to our advantage?
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. — Unknown
Adaptability is the key to survival in this technology-driven world. It enables us to focus on new circumstances and stay current while facilitating professional and personal growth. Combined with insight and keeping a fresh perspective, being adaptive allows us to manage the change before or as it happens.
What does this mean for IT leaders?
When the pandemic hit, IT leaders reacted quickly—acquiring large amounts of hardware, software, bandwidth and collaboration services to meet the sudden need for remote working solutions.
Since then, IT leaders should take stock, look at what they support, and determine what their employees—and their organizations—need now and in the future. They must balance the demands of multiple generations while navigating the challenges of operational responsibilities, budget pressures and customer expectations. They can’t do it alone.
Fortunately, workers and IT leaders are showing an openness to bridging generational gaps. This “new normal” of remote work and real-time collaboration from anywhere has brought employees of all generations together.
This is also an ideal time for IT leaders to engage a technology partner who understands the complexities of today’s workplace and how the right solutions, aligned with business strategies, can help close the generation gap and position the firm to make significant gains in productivity.
For example, software has become a powerful enabler, connecting disparate technologies through an integrated user interface deployed in the cloud. Seek out a Unified Communications as a Services (UCaaS) provider that delivers applications through a single user interface. This allows your IT teams to bring together a diverse workforce, remain competitive and drive innovation while boosting productivity and enhancing your customer’s experience through streamlined communication and collaboration.
The way we work has changed. Employees and companies together must continue to adapt. IT leaders are ready to bring together multiple generations of workers—and their workstyles—and lead them into the future to realize benefits for the business. Cloud-based UCaaS is the enabler for today’s workforce while setting the stage to support the future of work through continuous enhancements.
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