The Ever-Evolving Modern Workplace
Read time 6 mins
There’s a difference between what we might call ‘contemporary’ or ‘trendy’ workplaces (maybe the sorts with casual, open-plan offices, game rooms, and nap pods) and what we mean when we refer to the ‘modern workplace’ – although, of course, the two are not mutually exclusive.
The term ‘modern workplace’ refers more to a set of technological, physical, and psychological conditions which aim to improve the overall employee experience whilst simultaneously optimising the productivity and efficiency of the organisation and its output.
In many ways, this new way of thinking about the workplace has indeed paved the way for new and emerging technologies, the sort which support automation, collaboration, and hybrid work. After all, creating a positive, collective, and flexible work culture relies heavily upon technologies such as cloud computing and other remote working tools, e.g., Microsoft 365.
This has meant that the modern workplace is also a highly digital environment; a place that requires robust infrastructure to facilitate the technologies, applications, data, tools, and collaboration features necessitated by employees, and which enables them to access their workspace from anywhere.
These days, most employees expect their working experience to be the same no matter where, when, or what device they work from. They expect to be able to automatically pick-up work where they left off and to simultaneously work on projects with their colleagues in real time – whether they be in the same office or thousands of miles away, in an office overseas.
Still, whilst highly digital by necessity, it’s important to remember that the modern workplace isn’t just about using new and advanced technologies. What the modern workplace really speaks to most of all is people.
The modern workplace is about transforming internal systems and processes to make them more user-friendly and efficient; it’s about future proofing and adding scalability to organisations to secure and upskill the jobs held within; and it’s about improving the working experience significantly for end-users by offering flexibility and reliability for the ‘work from anywhere’ workforce.
The term ‘modern workplace’, then, is a lens through which we consider the fundamental role technology will play in shaping and enhancing our working experiences and meeting our changing human needs.
What are the benefits of the modern workplace?
The modern workplace is about transforming the user experience through changes to internal systems and processes to make them more user-friendly and efficient. It also facilitates organisations as they architect infrastructure that directly responds to the business goals of the company.
Upon implementing a modern workplace strategy, then, most organisations will benefit from:
Faster, more reliable communications
Enhanced productivity and efficiency
Decreased operating costs
Reliable backup and disaster recovery
Improved cyber security
Higher employee satisfaction/engagement
Increased flexibility and scalability
Attracting new/more skilled talent
Improved customer experience
How will the modern workplace continue to evolve?
Of course, ever since the first COVID lockdowns of 2020, we’ve seen a shift to more flexible ways of working, including hybrid and fully remote working arrangements as described above. But what does the modern workplace look like two years on and how will it continue to evolve?
1. The way we use physical office space
Whilst it’s certainly true that modern workplaces facilitate remote work through newer technologies (and that many employees prefer the improved work-life balance this arrangement offers), the physical office didn’t exactly become redundant as many predicted it could a year or two ago.
Instead, the way we use office space has continued to evolve, with many employees reporting that they prefer to go into the office occasionally in order to collaborate with co-workers and benefit from social interaction. In other words, the modern workplace benefits from a sort of ‘best of both worlds’ approach, wherein organisations can hold on to the wellbeing benefits of working from home whilst still promoting strong professional and social environments.
This developing trend is also changing the lay-out and design of physical offices, since more space is needed for, say, monthly team meetings, occasional one-on-ones, and even quiet, concentration rooms (for employees who may venture into the office now and then to escape a more hectic home life). In coming months and years, organisations may find that – rather than larger, open plan offices with hundreds of desks – what they really need are smaller, quieter meeting rooms that are set up for video conferencing and phone calls. They may also see large, traditional board rooms turned into smaller hubs and community areas for social interactions and collaboration.
2. The use of business analytics
The modern workplace has changed from merely a ‘place of work’ to a centre of innovation and collaboration. This means that organisations are focusing much more on supporting employees’ work, productivity, and experiences – as well as focusing on the ways these things can positively impact overall business goals.
In order to achieve this, organisations will need to be able to bridge the gap between one of their most important assets, data, and their decision making. After all, data, or ‘business intelligence’, is a key component in any organisations’ ability to remain agile, strategic, and competitive. Data is what allows organisations to monitor performance, adjust accordingly, and continue to innovate.
In light of this, organisations are more likely to make use of tools like Microsoft Power BI to increase their business intelligence efforts in coming years. Using it, employees can connect to, model, visualise, and securely share data, turning insights into intelligent, evidence-driven actions.
3. Personal and professional development
Once upon a time, workers simply went to work to … well, work. People who were deemed ‘driven’ and ‘devoted’ enough were promoted into higher positions whilst those thought to be less skilled usually remained in their current positions, ad infinitum.
In the modern workplace, however, organisations have recognised the importance of upskilling and empowering their workforce in order to retain their employees and achiever better results year on year.
In the modern workplace, learning is made accessible and user-friendly, and is often available through self-service or online portals, meaning that users can pick up a new skill whenever they need to (or when they have time). Truthfully, many employees today grew up with self-service tools, so they expect to be able to utilise these services as and when it suits them. Without this ability, organisations risk blocking the learning process and increasing dependence on outside expertise.
4. Investments in employee wellbeing
As focus shifts to employee experience in the modern workplace, many companies realise that unhappy employees are also unproductive, demotivated, and disengaged employees.
The modern workplace will prioritise and continue to de-stigmatise mental health alongside elevating Digital Employee Experience (DEX) and overall Employee Experience (EX) in order to reap the benefits in terms of productivity and staff retention.
Of course, keeping your employees happy is also the right thing to do, and leads to a far better, more collaborative and positive, working environment for everyone.
5. Continued focus on communication
The modern workplace depends on the free flow of ideas, information, and instruction and – whilst these things have always been important – they have become ever more so in workplaces altered by global economics, generational preferences and, of course, the COVID pandemic.
In order to be successful, then, organisations will need to facilitate constant communication and collaboration through multiple channels. Users will require the ability to communicate through face-to-face conversations, large group meetings, email, video and phone calls, project management software, and impromptu instant messaging.
To this end, your managed service provider should be transparent about the software and devices your organisation utilises and the ways they can promote and simplify communication and collaboration digitally.
If you would like to discuss how Littlefish can help you reduce costs, increase service quality, and support your transition to the modern workplace, feel free to get in touch via the contact button.