The Modern Workforce

by | Mar 17, 2020

The modern workforce is evolving, and the idea of a traditional 9-5 is obsolete. Many technologies that were a dream entering the 2010s are now commonplace. Employees can now work how, when, and even where they want. These freedoms are transforming the workplace to service modern workers.

It’s a new world, and businesses that adapt will succeed in the 2020s.

It seems impossible, but none of these trends came from out of nowhere. You’ve likely already heard of them, but these are the trends to adopt if you want to stay ahead in the 2020s. These trends will keep employees engaged so your brand continues exceeding customer expectations. It starts with remote work.

Remote Work Adoption Strategies

Remote work is becoming the new norm, with FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics reporting 159% growth over the past 12 years. It’s clear people want to skip the office, with 99% of respondents to Buffer’s State of Remote Work survey reporting they want to spend at least part of their career working from home.

The Coronavirus scare that kicked of 2020 made remote work an even more enticing option. The entire globe is worried about being quarantined, and working from home eliminates your employee’s commute and ensures nobody is forced to come to work while sick. Major events, like Facebook’s F8 conference and MWC, were canceled in the wake, and remote work is back on the table.

There’s never been a better time, thanks to advanced communication tools like Skype, Slack, Google’s G-Suite, Microsoft Office, GoToMeeting, and Dropbox. No matter what software you’re using, setting IT permissions and a VPN gives you remote access to virtual workstations while workers use your business productivity tools from home.

More advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things are continuing to enable remote work.

Implementing remote work improves employee morale and increases productivity, according to these surveys. In addition, you’ll benefit from a global workforce that can work around the clock for maximum efficiency and revenue generation. Speaking of generations, there’s a new one in your workforce.

Generation Z’s Hitting the Workforce

You now cater to four distinct generations in your workforce – Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. Your ability to bridge these generational gaps and offer each the right environment is key to business success. There are different learning styles, different experience levels, and different expectations from each generation.

If you think millennials are difficult to understand, wait until you meet Gen Z. This generation was born into a fully operational tech world. Smartphones and social media have always existed in their lives, and they use an average of five screens. This mobile-savvy generation is inspiring new ways to work, such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies.

With BYOD, you leverage employee-owned devices for business purposes. Cisco reports it saves businesses $350 per employee annually, while also giving you access to the latest technology. The average person upgrades their smartphone every 32 months, while businesses are considered tech-savvy replacing computers every six years. Think about it – when was the last time you upgraded your company equipment?

Gen Z also has a keen eye for ethics. They want to be involved in their communities with brands doing social good. Money is still important though, with 70% reporting salary as their top motivator and health insurance as a must-have. Even how you reach Gen Z is different, as they learn about companies on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat before exploring them on LinkedIn or Glassdoor.

So, let’s talk about how you can adapt and succeed in moving forward.

How Companies Can Start Adapting Today

With so many changes, it’s impossible to keep up with everything and do it all well. That’s ok – there are three fundamentals to focus on to ensure you make it through. If you have these essentials covered, you’ll have a strong foundation to pivot however needed.

  1. Horizontal Organization Design

The standard corporate ladder is vertical, encouraging employees to climb their way up the organization. It’s an endless climb with countless levels of middle management. Modern organizations should be built horizontally.

Flat organizations decentralize the decision-making process, empowering employees by providing a direct connection to the c-suite. GitHub, Treehouse, and 37Signals are examples of flat companies with horizontal organization structures.

  1. Empower Your Employees

Employees need to be empowered by more than a connection to the boss. They’ll need both job enlargement and enrichment, which is to say the scope and depth of their job responsibilities should be adjusted accordingly. They want to be given more opportunities to shine on their own.

When you give employees autonomy, along with the proper training and support, they’ll diligently carry the company on their shoulders. It’s vital to let your employees connect with you, instead of trying in vain to connect with each of them.

  1. Provide Continuous Feedback/Recognition

One thing that’ll never veer from tradition is the importance of 360-degree feedback. Recent research found Millennial and Gen Z workers are most likely to be dissatisfied and want to leave their jobs within the next two years. Lack of recognition from the top is the most cited reason.

The quest for self-fulfillment is part of the human condition. Providing continuous coaching and recognizing achievements goes a long way to providing this fulfillment to your employees.

With your company culture built on this strong foundation, you’ll be in a position to succeed in the 2020 business atmosphere. Modern technology is creating new ways to be productive in the office, at home, and even on the commute. Take full advantage of these opportunities to drive sustainable revenue long into the future.

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