Millennials: Everyone wants to define them. Yet with no official range,they frequently get used to illustrate whatever statistics and trends are being discussed at that time. Nonetheless, however you define them, Millennials are going to be the largest group in the workforce by 2020. Experts predict that by 2020, they will make up 35% of the global workforce, with Gen Z (the generation born after them) making up 24%, and baby boomers and Gen X (the generation before) retiring. That equates to more than half the entire workforce population.
With millennials and Gen Z now making up a considerable proportion of the workplace (and very likely, your customer base) you need to adapt your telecoms to suit their working patterns and buying patterns. Emma Heuston, founder of the Tracksuit Economy and author of a book bearing the same name comments that "millennials have an expectation that flexible work will be given to them. In some surveys I have seen recently, it [flexibility] is up there with salary in terms of their wish list. For this reason, companies that can offer remote working options are attracting better talent pools".
Moreover, it’s essential to consider that millennials are no longer the new kids at work. Those at the upper end of the millennial age range will have a good 10-15 years’ experience, are likely to be in senior positions, and will be having a significant influence on shaping the future of a business.
Dane Homenick, Founder and Chief Coffee Getter at Journo Travel Co., says: "With accessibility of all things work becoming commonplace, employees are looking for the freedom that accompanies it, especially millennials. It's on the business to provide this freedom, or risk losing some incredible talent because they didn't want to put processes in place that allowed for a fully remote workplace that's still - if not more - productive.
"I definitely think remote working is a good thing. If you have proper processes in place and run on 'work-based accountability,' your employees can thrive. And, as you know, when your employees thrive, they create better stuff, they interact with your customers better, and, thus, you'll end up becoming more profitable."
Flexible working is now a sought-after perk the new generation are seeking. Digital transformation is making the world seem smaller, and employees don’t always need to be on-site, and in one location. Flexible working benefits both parties; as an example it’s great for parents who need to juggle the school run and any appointments around work, as well as taking part in meetings that take place in different areas of the world. You can also take advantage of skilled workers from all over the world, as flexible working gives employers access to a larger pool of talent.
However, if your business wants to start offering remote working as a benefit to employees, it needs to be done right. Kateena Mills, Founder and People and Culture Consultant at Club Sandwich Consulting, advises: "Flexible working and remote working require a great deal of trust from the organisation and autonomy and accountability on the side of the employee. When managed well it can be a great benefit for employees which in turn spurs them to work hard and be productive, although when managed poorly it can lead to disengaged employees who are not as productive or connected to the business/brand/purpose as they might be if they were in the physical office.
"When you start to have members of the team working remotely, you have to be much more intentional about your cultural activities and ensuring people are connected to the business and to each other to maintain engagement and productivity. Things like regular video meetings, online 'watercooler' chats through systems like Slack or Teams, and regular opportunities to meet face to face and put "faces to names". I believe flexible working should be assessed on a case by case basis taking into consideration the role, expectations, reason for flexible working, commitment and trust of the employer/employee relationship and many other factors."
In addition to this directors and business owners are also taking their work remote, so much so that business are becoming cell only. Jane Simpson states that her cell only business has really boosted productivity. "As long as you make sure you have an up to date device with all the necessary apps taking your business to a cell can make you so much more flexible. I don't need to be at my desk and I can run my business from anywhere. I check emails, do my banking and take payments whenever I need to. I take photos and do my advertising from my phone. I simply couldn’t run my business without my phone."
Although not a new trend, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) Is one of the systems that has helped to make remote working a reality for many businesses, giving them the resources their employees need to work from home. Whether a full handset or just a desktop or mobile app, full functionality is now available anywhere. As Wedding Cakes Australia explains, this is great for workers whose job requires them to work from various locations.
Cloud technology has changed how we access critical business applications. To fulfill the needs of an‘always on’ modern workforce, the demand for speed, convenience, and efficiency most applications are run as Software as a Service (SaaS) and hosted on super resilient servers in the cloud. This means few servers on site, but much more reliance on high bandwidth connectivity.
Another practice the modern workforce requires is the freedom to use their own devices for work purposes – something that is known as BYOD or Bring Your Own Device. Given the increase in the number of organizations taking advantage of all that BYOD can bring, several other initialisms have developed,such as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), CYOD (Choose Your Own Device), and even BYOA (Bring Your Own Application).
Most organizations remain uncomfortable in letting their employees use their own mobile devices to access their IT systems as this lack of control brings huge challenges around security and support. However, there are a number of steps your business can take to keep your employees secure when working remotely. These include ensuring documents are hosted in the Cloud store using SharePoint or another secure platform, using Mobile Device Management (MDM) software to secure mobile devices, and encrypting work emails.
Flexible working is now being cited as the most sought-after employee benefit after a pay increase, with 47% of respondents telling Employee Matters that they'd like to receive this perk. With that in mind, your business should be moving with the times by making this an option to keep up with the needs of a modern workforce.
Stephanie Holland, the founder of a boutique startup agency for freedom-seeking humans, adds: "Free from the clutches of the commute and attracted to the culture of trust, learning and greater autonomy, more and more people are enjoying remote-first cultures that value work-life balance as a strategic imperative for the bottom line. With companies like Microsoft (remote working) and Wordpress (100% virtual company) leading the way, the most successful companies on the planet are exceeding their profit and impact goals through a healthier, happier, and more empowered workforce."
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