Do you work in a modern workplace?
What makes a workplace modern? Is it edgy decor in the office? An office dog? Maybe it's an open plan office. Maybe not.
Here at Prodec Networks, we strongly believe that the Modern Workplace is an environment in which individuals can work to their full potential without restrictions or limitations, and in a way that works for them. For a lot of businesses, this doesn’t necessarily involve an office at all. “Work” is no longer just a physical building on a business park somewhere. It’s now wherever an employee chooses to connect to their business network, access required resources, and operate just as effectively as if they were sitting at their desk. It might be at home, it might be on a train, it might be on a customer site, or it might even be on holiday. The Modern Workplace is The Everywhere Office, and at the centre of the Modern Workplace lies its network and IT infrastructure.
How have we got here?
Today’s world is one of constant connections and communication. We’re now at a point as a global society where we’re almost perpetually connected to the grid, most predominantly through our smartphones. No matter where you are, if your phone or alternative connected device is by your side, you can access the largest network in the world, the Internet. You’re not alone in this: all across the globe, billions of people are constantly transmitting and receiving data. They’re accessing work-related files, watching YouTube videos, browsing the web, communicating with colleagues, and catching up on the news. We’re now in the era of connected devices, of digitalisation, and of the Internet of Things.
Over the last twenty years, The cultural uptake of the Internet and smart devices has also had a dramatic impact on the way that businesses are operating. Evolving technology trends such as the cloud and the IoT are increasing the flexibility and mobility of employees, while improved business communications platforms are optimising and streamlining the way teams can collaborate and work together without being restricted by location.
Digitalisation is acting as an enabler in the workplace. It’s removing age-old boundaries and restrictions and replacing them with opportunities. The Internet, and more specifically, the Internet of Things, is shaping the way the workplace can operate. This has led to the rise of The Modern Workplace: users can now work, without restriction, from any place and at any time. Meanwhile, connected devices are gathering new types of data that is improving business processes, streamlining go-to-market times, and enhancing the customer experience. Businesses are adopting these IoT devices, and benefitting from business intelligence previously unavailable to them.
Everywhere’s a workspace in The Modern Workplace.
“Work” is becoming less and less about being somewhere that people go, and more about what people do. The environment that work is being completed in is now less important. Improved communications platforms and network access has allowed mobile working to be an everyday part of work. This is one of the central facets of the modern workplace – its “always-on” employees are able to connect and work from anywhere.
Mobile working isn’t a new initiative; it’s already widespread across the UK. According to the TUC, over 4.2 million of us are regularly working from home, a figure that is only increasing.
A worker no longer needs to be confined to a traditional office environment to work. In fact, organisations that aren’t embracing mobile working practices are not only restricting the capability of their employees to achieve their objectives, but are also limiting the overall productivity output of the business as a whole. The positive impact mobile working has on productivity has been studied extensively, and is down to factors including:
- Improved employee availability
- Greater employee satisfaction
- Shorter or no commute time
- Improved motivation
- Higher levels of job retention
…and perhaps most importantly, mobile working improves employee enablement.
Believe it or not, most employees want to do their jobs well! They want to achieve their goals and targets, hit their sales figures, be a part of their business community, and of course take their hard-earned commission home.
Providing your teams with a mobile working environment can help them to achieve their personal drivers by extending the environment in which they can work productively, while reducing downtime caused by travel, office disruption, unnecessary meetings and customer site visits. Communication and connectivity technology has improved so much over the last 15 years that remote and home-based users have access to exactly the same levels of resource that they would in the office.
How important is IT’s role in the modern workplace?
Digitalisation and the Internet of Things are forcing a change in the way business networks are being utilised. As the number and variety of connected devices increases, our business networks need to be able to sustain, or at least manage more effectively, this influx of bandwidth demand. It’s the role of the IT department to ensure the network can sustain new infrastructure demands both now and for the future.
Without the correct technologies and processes in place, The Modern Workplace isn’t truly sustainable, and individuals won’t be able to work to their full capacity or have free access to required data. Not having the correct infrastructure can also raise issues around security and data protection, device management or communication restrictions.
Building the modern workplace around your business network.
Achieving a “modern workplace” isn’t as simple as flipping a switch or changing a company’s outlook on remote working. It’s a vast cultural and technological change for an organisation, but one that offers a world of new benefits that can increase staff happiness and improve the bottom line.