Millennials are taking over the workplace. In fact, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, by 2020, approximately 50 percent of the working world will be made up of the millennial generation.
Their influence on the changing workplace landscape is already making its mark. The most significant difference is a shift in how technology is being used and enabling a more mobile workforce – not just for millennials, but for everyone. With the proliferation of cloud applications connecting people to business applications from anywhere on the planet with an Internet connection, who wouldn’t prefer to work from home or a favorite coffee house rather than sitting in a fluorescent-lit cubicle on the other side of town?
It’s All about the Millennials
Millennials are driving the movement toward remote officing, making it almost a prerequisite to effective recruitment. In a recent survey, nearly 40 percent of hiring managers said they believe millennials are not used to a standard work environment. While some more traditional companies may balk, they will be left behind if they don’t adapt to the changing workplace. Millennials are demanding more flexibility and employees are listening, finding ways to put nearly every conceivable business application in the cloud.
Physical offices and the business hardware to support them will remain for the foreseeable future, but more and more of these office staples will be moved to the cloud to lower costs and reduce the amount of maintenance while improving scalability, productivity and accessibility.
Phones are a perfect example. While premises-based phones can be found in most offices, more employees are relying on mobile technology or a hybrid of both, even in the office. As technology becomes increasingly secure and available, more organizations will implement unified communications that support mobility features. Hosted VoIP and cloud unified communications services serve as the ideal platform for organizations looking to provide limitless mobility while lowering their total cost of ownership.
Mobility as an Asset
One of the greatest benefits an organization can offer its employees is the ability to work remotely anywhere on any device, anytime. Not only does it attract millennial talent, but it gives current employees the kind of freedom shown to greatly improve job satisfaction due to a better work/life balance. Not surprisingly, it also often results in greater productivity, both in terms of happier employees and greater accessibility to business applications.
In the past, a business trip meant an employee was away from the office, and therefore work, until his/her return. Today, it is rare to see a business traveler not working on a mobile device from the time they clear security until they walk off of the plane. Business travelers will often get as much, if not more, work accomplished during traveling time than if in an office.
Unified communications is becoming the norm, as more organizations realize mobility is no longer a perk but a requirement, particularly for millennials. Hosted cloud services are being recognized for the many benefits they bring and are more readily adopted by the masses. IT leaders will have to recognize the need for change and determine the best path to ensure their organizations are not left behind. It is not a one-time endeavor but a continual process that should evolve as technology and business needs change. This will place IT as less of an issue-resolver and more as a proactive strategist driving the technology enhancements that will enable and attract a tech-savvy workforce.
Pejman Roshan is the vice president of product management at ShoreTel, where he is responsible for product strategy, definition, and delivery for ShoreTel’s unified communications cloud and on-premises product lines.
This article was originally published by our content partner Corporate TechDecisions.