Modern workforce trends: Transforming the way we work

By Harnath Babu, CIO, KPMG, India

It is the modern age – times when we often ex­change emails with people sitting in the same building, or even in the same room, when our messages pop-up instantly on their smart de­vices, when we receive alerts via push notifica­tions, and when we do not necessarily have to meet people in person to communicate as there are tools for online meetings.

Now imagine DElorean time machine taking you back to a work day in 1970. No PC on your desk, no smartphone in your pocket and no instant messaging tool to connect with colleagues. Rather, your desk is filled with snail mail, most communication takes place in per­son or over landlines, and all documents are hard copies.

Let’s face it: Had this been the reality today, we would certainly be paralyzed!

After all, with the way technology has taken over the workplace as well as our personal lives, it is next to im­possible to imagine working without computers, mobiles, emails, office productivity apps, and Internet. From the introduction of digital technologies to the increasing trend of mobile and remote working, the way work ‘works’ today has changed drastically over time. Gone are the days of being hooked to PC at desk, following strict 9 to 5 routines, and punching in and out, we are now accustomed to checking emails before brushing teeth in the morning, attending meetings on our commutes, and getting a number of tasks done while away from office.

The modern workplace, hit by millions of young workers, is now driven by self-service requirements, which means they want the same independence at work as they have as consumers. They expect to do everything on their own easily by using a mobile device, and Gen X is quickly following in their footsteps. Flexibility has become their preferred choice– they want to be able to take a day off, or might work on weekends. They certainly don’t want to depend solely on their desktop/laptop to com­plete tasks such as applying for leave, booking tickets for business travels, applying for reimbursements, and the likes. They appreciate the ease and flex­ibility of being able to view, access and update information while on the move. This is no longer a luxury for them, but a part of daily routine.

This is why companies are em­powering their workforce with enter­prise-grade applications that enable them to manage their schedules and work whenever &wherever they are. Technology is being embraced in a manner that enables employees to use their personal devices at work and not end up switching gears before & after working hours.

Also with growing collaboration demands, employees are now being technically enabled to stay connected and work together on common projects through collaborative tools, irrespective of their physical location. They can now digitally share documents, and commu­nicate with team members instantly. Moreover, the modern workforce is no longer restricted to the office space to catch up on business-critical tasks. They can easily access the company’s net­work and work remotely from a client site, the comfort of their home, or even a hotel across the country.

Besides embracing the mod­ern approach and giving em­ployees an easy access to their work from anywhere and at any time, ensuring utmost security of business data from both ex­ternal and internal threats is of paramount importance. Along with the flexibility in terms of mobility, there should be a balanced approach and deploy­ment of right tools at both the network and endpoint layer to make sure that the company and client information is protected from threats in the form of un­authorized access, hacking, so­cial engineering, etc.

Conclusion

Study after study, the concept of workforce flexibility comes up. And to meet the ever-evolving modern workforce trends and requirements of the tech-savvy, hyper-connected generation, it has become a must for forward-thinking companies to create an employee-oriented work envi­ronment that has the right tech­nology in place and keeps the young workers engaged. The role of CIOs is not only con­fined to build IT strategies and run operations but also strike the balance between expectations of Gen Y and the Millennials in a way that technology can be easi­ly leveraged by everyone.

Organizations that embrace the modern workforce trends are set to function more effec­tively and efficiently, boost­ing the employee experience as well as performance —as the business, technology and social norms evolve.

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