Forward-thinking businesses that embrace a modern workplace mindset and understand the drivers behind this cultural shift can change the way the world operates. So let's look under the hood of the modern workplace and see why it's become the norm, not the exception.
What is the modern workplace?
The modern workplace is a philosophy that embraces the realities of how people want to work in today's business environment and how technology enables that activity.
Microsoft champions the idea of the modern workplace and provides tools to enable businesses to support modern ways of working. This has led to the belief that the modern workplace is about technology.
The modern workplace is about people and empowering them to do their best work. Technology is the best tool to enable this, but the modern workplace is about mindset, drive, communication, culture, and so much more.
An office isn't a 21st-century factory
Office workers don't clock-in and clock-out of work anymore. This is because work is no longer about raw output, it's about employee empowerment. Research shows that when employees feel empowered, it's associated with stronger job performance, job satisfaction, and commitment to their organisation. This improves the quality of an individual's work and the success of the business as a whole. Highly engaged teams show a 21% greater profitability. This is because engaged employees show up every day with passion, purpose, presence, and energy.
To empower staff you need to give them resources, authority, opportunity, and motivation to do their work. They also need to be accountable for their actions and take ownership of their role, no matter its size within the business. And this is where technology comes in.
Tech drives the modern workplace
This has been true since the loom was invented. In the past, technology was adopted to maximise output, but with new thinking comes new tech. Today, organisations integrate technologies that promote modern workplace thinking of empowerment, collaboration, innovation, and growth. This change accelerated over the last 30 years due to the emergence of 3 universal trends:
- Ageing workforce As the baby boomers continue to retire, they're taking key knowledge with them. This has increased the need to capture and preserve knowledge.
- Big data We're able to capture and process more data than ever before and this causes a problem. Employees can’t find what they need, while business leaders struggle to access the real value locked in the data.
- Demand for speed With the rapid pace of today’s work environment, we need to work faster and collaborate more effectively to get our jobs done.
Tech innovations have emerged in response to these modern workplace drivers. They support businesses and help drive change by:
- Supporting new approaches to problem-solving
- Unifying communications
- Improving employee experiences
- Optimising spend
- Promoting productivity
- Bridging skills gaps
Overcoming the challenges to adopting modern workplace
1. Institutional inertia
Due to organic sprawl and legacy systems, technology becomes an inhibitor, rather than an enabler to modern working. Remote working is a great example of this. You give everyone laptops to work from home with and get a VPN to connect your on-premise servers to your staff, but it's not fit for purpose. The legacy portals and hardware make work so slow, staff end up saving work locally, exposing security risks and making collaboration much harder.
This is where an independent audit can help shake things up. Our work with Checkland Kindleysides helped them move away from a bespoke, legacy system to an agile, cloud-based platform that's better suited to the modern workplace.
2. Staff not feeling part of the solution
Collaboration is a key tenet of the modern workplace. Not just within departments, but up- and down-stream of the management chain. When strategy and delivery aren't aligned, we find that staff are having to work around tech and process limitations in an attempt to replicate modern workplace practice directives from the leadership team. The solution is to assume nothing.
Spend time getting under the hood of your organisation. Interview your staff and start the conversations that reveal the real issues holding them back. Sometimes it helps to get some fresh eyes on the situation by engaging a consultant. Kepler Wolf valued the time we invested upfront to really understand their business vision and goals before we began talking about a technology solution
Embracing the modern workplace means addressing culture, technology, training, and investment. Before you know it the project starts to look like an insurmountable challenge. You know you need to change but you don't know how to change or where to change in a way that delivers real value.
At a time when businesses are encouraged to invest in technology but are expected to deliver results faster than ever, you need to turn a big project into a series of smaller steps. That way you can manage expectations and deliver value at every stage – from initial discovery conversations through to technology rollout and staff training.
Technology enables empowerment
Your technology should be an engine, not an overhead. It should enable your business to operate optimally, empowering your teams and allowing you to do right by your people. The tools are out there, the trick is getting the right approach, the right amount of buy-in, and knowing how to deliver value.