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Building An Effective Workplace For A Restless Generation

To enable this generation to make strategic contributions to their organization, workplaces will have to be built to empower them to work the way they want, as opposed to the other way around

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Restless but innovative, entitled but motivated, self-absorbed but great team players! These are just a few of the many monikers that have been used to describe millennials—the generation that will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. Imbibed with different motivations, technological skills, and job expectations, this restless generation is turning into the most significant catalyst for workplace transformation. From open office plans and remote teams to learning opportunities and workplace policies, businesses are always seeking new ways to stay relevant to this demographic.

Gen Y and Z are natural networkers. Growing up surrounded by the latest innovations in digital technologies, this generation finds it advantageous for working in groups leveraging digital tools to successfully collaborate. They demand an engaging and frictionless workplace experience. From personalized options for seating and room temperature to tech tools to make work faster and easier, they require their workplaces to respond to their work and personal needs. To accommodate a generation that is redefining the nature of work, enterprises will need to restructure their workspaces.

Make the workplace more social

Social tools have created a culture of instant gratification and impatience among the millennial generation. Accustomed to information and immediate feedback at their fingertips, they expect the same level of continuous engagement while collaborating with their teams at work. Collaboration tools in the workplace should emulate similar characteristics. Team collaboration tools should enable employees to start or resume a conversation without having to search through tedious email threads. Such tools not only help employees collaborate faster but with greater efficiency. And by opening the way to easier communication, teams can make decisions in real time—without having to wait for a decision to be sent through legacy modes of communication.

Enable remote work culture

It is no longer uncommon to have a partially or fully remote team. A survey of Indian employees found more than half—53 percent—prefer remote working. To empower such groups, organizations need collaboration tools that create richer meeting experiences. Empowered with video, teams are better able to interact with colleagues face-to-face, with no non-verbal cues being missed. The use of seamless video as a mode to meet also contributes to providing a sense of community among remote teams and increases employee satisfaction. Encouraging remote work culture also results in organizations saving on real-estate. The implementation of flexible timings for its staff globally has caused Cisco to save $490 million over 5 years.

Secure Digital workplace 

While seamless collaboration ranks high among the restless generation, they also place a high value on security. In comparison to other generational cohorts, they are the most security savvy, with 40.4 percent choosing to use two-factor authentication for their passwords. Collaboration tools employed by organizations need to have the highest security standards enabling employees to have worry-free interaction without the fear of associated risks.

Future-proof collaboration 

Enterprises adopting newer collaboration tools for the growing Gen Y and Z demographic should pay attention to the disruptions impacting our work culture.   AI-powered tools are already automating routine and repetitive tasks.  It is already possible to ask a bot to set meeting schedules. Future AI implications in collaboration will include an automatic evaluation of the resource pool and matching the best possible skills and availability for the tasks at hand.  Hence, it’s imperative for organizations should invest in foundational technologies capable of extending support to new devices, applications, and interaction styles.

Accustomed to constant connectivity—at all places, at all times and on every device—the restless generation is highly skilled in collaboration. To enable this generation to make strategic contributions to their organization, workplaces will have to be built to empower them to work the way they want, as opposed to the other way around.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Hariharan S

The author is Director, Collaboration business, Cisco India & SAARC

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