Key Business Trends

Can you identify trends impacting your business?

The dynamics of work are continuously changing in the digital age. But the way we communicate, collaborate, share knowledge, and engage employees continues to lag behind. Your digital workplace strategies must continue to adapt to this ever changing workplace landscape.

Key workplace trends

Most organizations today, regardless of location, size, or industry, struggle with the same business challenges:

  • Vital corporate knowledge trapped in information silos like email inboxes and structured information systems
  • A limited understanding of corporate culture and organizational expertise
  • Connecting growing globally dispersed workforce

To drive employee productivity and engagement in a digital age, organizations must re-envision their workplace to address factors such as widening generational gaps, a mobile-first mentality, and increasing demand for an excellent employee experience.

Trend 1: Mobile workforce 

Today’s workforce is becoming more and more distributed. Our 2019 State of the Digital Workplace study found that 49% of employees work remotely anywhere from 1 to 4 days each week. With the ability to work remotely, with flexible hours, from whichever device they choose, employees can work across geographies and time zones.

The challenge: It becomes more difficult to foster the same company culture you’d be able to achieve if everyone was in the same place.

The solution: Build an inspiring corporate destination where all employees feel welcome and connected regardless of location, time zone, or language. Creating a digital destination where remote locations can come together to share information and ideas allows all employees to communicate and collaborate in one centralized location.

Trend 2: Bring your own apps (BYOA)

People use their personal productivity applications like Google Docs or Dropbox to communicate and collaborate at work. These apps find their way into the workplace because they’re fast and familiar, and most importantly, they don’t require any IT support. In fact, our 2019 State of the Digital Workplace study found that 50% of employees said they used an application not approved by their companies (55% of these employees said they did so because it could not be monitored or tracked by their companies, and 62% said they use unsanctioned apps because of their ease of use).

The challenge: Accommodating every employee’s app of choice can counteract communication and knowledge-sharing practices in your organization, not to mention the security implications involved. Implementing multiple disparate platforms and tools can eventually overwhelm people. They require employees to learn new functionality, processes, and ways of communicating and storing information. This can lead to underutilization, nomadic data, and even abandonment of new solutions, regardless of their initial perceived value.

The solution: The digital workplace has emerged as the mission-critical tool to band disparate apps together. A tool that was traditionally thought of as an IT-sanctioned document store or link farm now represents an avenue for organizations to create a sophisticated digital destination and corporate identity, connecting their entire organization across borders, boundaries, and organizational structures. A digital workplace doesn’t promise to replace existing solutions or third-party applications inside an organization. Instead, it’s a portal through which people can view and access all the tools and information they need to do their jobs.

Trend 3: The generation gap is widening 

You may have employees who grew up well before the advent of email alongside those who can’t remember life before smartphones. The majority of today’s workforce is comprised of three generations that entered the workforce during three very different times: Baby Boomers (born 1946-1965); Generation X (born 1966- 1976) and Millennials (born 1977-1994). Generations work differently. They use different tools. They have different expectations. They align with different rules.

The challenge: Generational differences, along with the widening gap in digital fluency, can cause friction. There’s a need to find digital solutions that drive productivity no matter what attitudes and abilities are at play. All these groups have to collaborate seamlessly at work.

The solution: There's a need to recognize and address the different working styles of these generations. They need a common digital destination that bridges generational tech preferences, boosts collaboration, fosters peak productivity, and supports the workflows and communication styles of each generation.

Trend 4: The war for talent

Today, top candidates enter the workforce with more options than ever before. Conversely, employer options are on the decline to entice top talent to join their organization. Employees also no longer stay at companies for their entire career – they stay two or three years and then move on.

The challenge: Organizations must now deal with the society of “free-agent” employees they’ve created through years of cutbacks, outsourcing, and extended work weeks. This means it’s going to be harder and harder to find and replace top talent.

The solution: The employee experience is as important as the customer experience. Investing in recruiting, onboarding, and retaining talent is crucial to your digital workplace strategy. Gone are the days of top-down management, where executives rule from the top floor. Instead, realizing a need to create an inspiring digital destination for engaging their employees, innovative companies are adopting a ground-up approach that focuses on company culture and protecting their most valuable asset: people.

Trend 5: Business software and technology

Technology is changing at a rapid pace and businesses must adapt quickly to ensure they maintain a competitive advantage. Companies must make investments in business software that will support their employees, but decisions about these investments don't come easy when it's known that the next innovation is right around the corner. Technology trends currently driving the future of business software include:

  • Leveraging public cloud, multiple deployment options, and scenarios 
  • App intelligence and artificial intelligence 
  • Better user experiences and expectations 
  • Low-code extensibility 
  • Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, security/trust, automation
The challenge: To meet employee needs and expectations, organizations must adapt quickly as new business software and technology becomes available. Technology trends can impact companies drastically, such as end-of-life for legacy software and the shift to cloud-based solutions. If your organization can't keep pace with technology your employees need, you may face poor employee engagement due to low satisfaction with the existing technology available to them.

The solution: With employee experience on the rise, companies can find flexible solutions that will allow them to grow and adapt to the changing needs of their business, their industry, and their employees. Technology solutions that seek to bring together multiple tools will allow businesses to get the most out of their investments, helping them to adapt, grow, expand, and evolve to ensure that employees are getting what they need to do their jobs well. 

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