Guest blog by Dan Bladen, CEO and co-founder of Chargifi
There’s no denying – the millennial generation has fully come into its own and as the largest generation in the workforce, their way of working is having a profound impact on workplace strategies. Digitally connected from the word dot, millennials have instilled a notion of ‘on-call-attachment’ – never more than a few clicks or a message away from their circle of friends, family and colleagues – which gives good reason behind the boom of co-working spaces which allow for fluidity, collaboration and an on-demand structure; it’s the manifestation of Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn – social networking in real-life.
This deep sense of community and the always-on lifestyle of millennials has led to the growing number of organisations recognising that adapting to non-traditional workplace strategies and spaces can contribute to their overall business effectiveness, productivity and efficiency. The demand for social workplaces is booming and with that comes a new opportunity for employers to re-design today’s work environments to retain and attract talent.
Work-life integration – the new company car
The genuine opportunity for employers is in crafting a destination for teams and individuals; one that mimics the environment that millennials – who now account for more than one-third of the global workforce – have become accustomed to outside of work and one that satisfies expectations. The way people use an office is changing – employees want the freedom to seamlessly move between spaces depending on how they feel or the nature of the task at hand and are snacking on power to stay connected.
The cloud and mobile computing have given workers unprecedented control and choice over where and how they work. The combined effect of this unique set of circumstances has led to the rise of the Third Place – social spaces that bridge the gap between traditional home and work environments. These carefully curated spaces offer a multitude of advantages – namely cultural, wellbeing and environmental – and are replacing traditional workplace benefits like the company car, as the most desirable facet of employment.
It is little wonder, then, that curating flexible spaces that meet the needs of the growing millennial workforce has become an important component of the new norm for progressive companies around the world.
The role of smart technology in the workplace
Last year, adults spent around 68% of their time connected to the internet via their mobile phones – a rise of 44% since 2015[EA1] . However, this digital dependency has created a problem: thousands of interactions with our devices and multiple apps running simultaneously is draining power. To accommodate this demand the critical foundation to connectivity is power. And there is an opportunity for employers to make power –– as convenient and accessible as possible.
By 2020 it is predicted that there will be one billion devices with wireless charging capabilities circulation and with that the provision of wireless power is set to skyrocket. By deploying smart wireless charging and other smart tech at scale, businesses can not only satisfy their app-thirsty employees (and rid them of heavy cables and powerpacks) but they can create a more engaged, productive and efficient workforce.
Using data insights to meet employee needs
New, smart technologies offer the opportunity for employers to deliver an attractive and fully connected workspace. Smart wireless charging, for example, drives productivity by acting as the trigger point for fully connected, seamless and personalised experiences like meeting room booking, hot-desk check-in which automatically enables facilities and will kick-start a meeting, conference call or work session without the need to manually login and load apps.
Smart technology that captures data on employee behaviour will help HR teams and employers to better understand their people – across all generations – and the experiences they have at work. Employee behaviour data, including charging sessions, hyper-location and insight on dwell time is provided as insights through a dashboard in the cloud platform. Leveraging this network data will give management teams the ability to gain a new level of business intelligence. A real data-driven culture based on facts, instead of predictions, is critical in designing an employee-first workplace.
There’s no employee that doesn’t want a workplace specifically designed to meet their needs and with this comes the expectation that things are connected – they simply just happen. Having a fully connected workforce at your fingertips not only gives your employees the opportunity to shape the world around their needs and demands – satisfying the employee’s pursuit of happiness – but it will also increase productivity by making the working day as seamless as possible.