It’s no secret that the way people work is evolving. In fact, even the term “work,” which was once defined as “a place of employment,” is now being redefined as an activity. And, rightly so, since now more than ever before this activity is taking place outside the traditional office space — and even outside “normal business hours.”
Leading technology manufacturers and research groups that study this trend have come up with several catchy phrases such as “workplace of the future,” the “digital workplace,” and even the “next-gen workplace” (my personal favorite) to capture the essence of this business transformation. Citrix sponsored a “Workplace of the Future” global survey, which revealed that today’s workers use an average of six communication devices to do their work while at the same time spending only two-thirds of their workweek at a desk. In another study conducted by independent research firm Vanson Bourne involving feedback from 1,900 senior IT decision makers, the research showed that brick-and-mortar office sizes are shrinking.
Simultaneously, there is a trend toward workshifting, where people shift work to more convenient times and locations. Mobile computing and BYOD (bring your own device) initiatives are another strong component linked with this trend. Not surprisingly, research shows that organizations that embrace these next-gen workplace trends are seeing significant operational and strategic advantages over those still clinging to traditional business practices. According to the Vanson Bourne study, for example, those embracing next-gen workplace concepts and business practices were able to:
- Recruit and retain talent by incorporating BYOD policies for personal devices and flexible work schedules.
- Offer modern, flexible, and economical workspaces that inspire employees while reducing Facilities and real estate costs.
- Increase productivity for people working remotely, providing secure access to business resources from anywhere.
While the industry as a whole is still in the midst of narrowing down “next-gen workplace” to a single definition, our research and observations have led us to the following conclusions. The next-gen workplace is an environment that enables an agile user experience by fostering productivity, efficiency and optimal growth potential – for both employees and the business. To harness the full power of this environment, organizations must create an ecosystem founded on flexible policies that embrace new business models, transparency, collaboration and community building, diversity, and the consumerization of technology.