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Do You Recognize the Face of the Modern Workforce?
Every so often, the workforce undergoes a dramatic transformation. It happened in the 18th and 19th centuries with the Industrial Revolution, and it happened again in the 20th century with the assembly line.
Whereas previous eras were marked by teams coming together to work from a single location, today teams work in many different ways. A nimbler and more mobile workforce has emerged.
For many years, organizations have focused their attention on millennials, the largest generation in the workforce, at 35% of workers, according to Pew Research Center. But now a younger generation of workers, Gen Z, are driving changes in the workforce, as these “digital natives” grew up around technology and see it engrained in every aspect of their daily lives.
According to the most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 57% of workers, both wage and salary, can vary the times they start and stop working. Nearly one in three (29%) wage and salary workers could work at home, while one in four (25%) sometimes do work at home.
Among those who worked at home, a quarter (24%) did so because of personal preference, while a similar amount (23%) worked at home to catch up on work and (22%) to coordinate their schedules for individual needs.
A survey from the American Psychological Association found Gen Z to be more stressed than other generations about many matters, including items in the news and work. Selecting the wrong solutions can compound the feelings of stress and anxiety many already feel in the workplace.
Research from PwC found rank-and-file employees and their leaders disagree on whether organizations are deploying the correct technology.
In fact, less than half (47%) of employees think their organization effectively communicates about the importance of digital tools in use, according to the PwC research. More than a third of workers (34%) are motivated to use technology to improve efficiency, roughly the same amount that will use technology to gain a career advantage.
Additionally, the PwC study found employees still like human interactions for specific tasks, including performance reviews and securing help with challenging problems.
The notion that an office automatically is the most conducive place to collaborate is antiquated. In fact, research from Gallup shows that employee engagement actually increases when workers spent some time — three to four days per week — working off-site.
Part of the problem is the volume of disruptions inherent in the workplace. The State of Work 2020 report from Workfront shows workers face an average of 13.9 interruptions per day, and it can take workers 20 minutes to recover from a distraction. The same survey found employees spend less than half of their workweek (43% on average) on their primary duties.
Given the state of the modern workplace and the opportunities at hand, the real question is, why do organizations stand for continued disruptions? They have the power to change it; they just need to act on it.
Organizations shouldn’t confine “work” to a physical location. The proliferation of technology allows organizations to focus on assembling the right team, not the geographically convenient team.
Instead, it’s about bringing together the right people and empowering them to work wherever they are most productive.
The face of the modern workforce is marked by change and mobility, two themes that are aligned with the need for teams to collaborate. At PGi, we’ve empowered our teams to participate in Work Wherever Wednesday, an opportunity to work from a place and in a manner that allows them to deliver their best work.
As the early adopters of technology, employees are willing to spend the time to learn new platforms. Companies that choose not to empower their workforce risk losing their employees — their most valuable assets. The team in the trenches every day knows what it takes to deliver. It’s often as simple as creating a culture that allows team members to continue collaborating as they move from one location to another and from screen to screen.
The most successful companies understand the changing workforce and employ the solutions that meet employees where they are, which is often their mobile device. As with many of the issues organizations face today, there is often an easy fix. It just takes the wisdom and the willingness to allow it to happen. The companies that embrace the trend are the ones that will find themselves ahead of their competitors.
How is your company empowering and enabling the modern workforce?