While it’s widely acknowledged that technology is developing at an accelerated pace, there is less agreement about the implication of rapid technological change for the future of work. What about the rising use of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics that threaten to displace, if not replace, humans in the workplace? What does this mean long term for jobs, skills, and wages?
Recognizing and embracing workforce differences
An increasingly diverse workforce consisting of multiple generations is central to these discussions. Each generation brings its own set of workplace expectations and attitudes about technology. For example, the rise and ubiquity of mobile technologies for our phones, laptops, tablets, etc. means that the ‘where’ of work does not require spending every day in a traditional office. This flexibility appeals to many younger employees, and increasingly older workers who find the flexibility advantageous for attending to family matters that would otherwise take them away from the office. This dynamic will only continue, and the tools and resources that enable individuals and teams to communicate with each other from different locations will become more crucial in the years ahead.
Speaking as a Baby Boomer and with more than 30 years in the industry, I’ve seen how each generation has developed communication preferences, and how succeeding generations are quick to adopt the ‘latest and greatest’ technologies. These changes are generally positive and at times disruptive as they introduce an entirely new dynamic and challenges for employers. Anywhere, anytime, anyhow communications have become the norm. Connectivity must be effortless, ubiquitous and facilitate the easy exchange of communication and ideas.
Adapting to new environments are more important than ever
The adage of “the only thing constant is change” has never been truer than in today’s digital age. Change is happening faster, increasingly hard to predict, and is forcing a dramatic re-thinking of the relationship between people and technology. Do we resist change and risk being left behind in the trash heap of obsolete thinking and technologies? Or, do we adapt and embrace the change, channeling the resulting new technologies to our advantage?
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. — Unknown
Adaptability is the key to survival in this technology-driven world. It enables us to focus on new circumstances and stay current while facilitating professional and personal growth. Combined with insight and keeping a fresh perspective, being adaptive allows us to manage the change before or as it happens.
What does this mean for IT leaders?
Multiple dynamics are converging to create an increasingly complex environment for IT leaders. On the one hand, it is often mistakenly assumed that as technology leaders for the organization, they will be drawn to the latest technology as a solution to their firm’s challenges. Of course, it’s never that simple. They must balance the demands of multiple generations while navigating the challenges of operational responsibilities, budget pressures and customer expectations – and they can’t do it alone.
Fortunately, workers and IT leaders together are signaling an openness to bridging generational gaps in the workplace instead of viewing these differences as obstacles. This is also an ideal time to engage a technology partner who understands the complexities of today’s workplace and how the right solutions, aligned with business strategies, can help close the generation gap and position the firm to make significant gains in productivity.
As an example, software has become the powerful enabler, connecting disparate technologies through an integrated user interface deployed in the cloud. Seek out a Unified Communications as a Services (UCaaS) provider that delivers applications through a single user interface. This allows your IT teams to bring together a diverse work force, remain competitive and drive innovation while boosting productivity and enhancing your customer’s experience through streamlined communication and collaboration.
The way we work is changing and employees and companies together must adapt. IT leaders are ready to lead the way into the future to bring together multiple generations of workers and their workstyles to realize business benefits. Cloud-based UCaaS is the enabler for today’s workforce while setting the stage to support the future of work through continuous enhancements.
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