Dan Bladen, CEO and co-founder of Chargifi explains why ever-connected millenials could deliver benefits for business
Millennials are expected to make up 75% of the workforce within the next five years and with this generational shift, we are seeing major changes in workplace strategies.
One of the defining characteristics of the millennial demographic is digital dependence and it’s a trait that employers simply cannot afford to ignore. Having grown up never more than a few clicks or a message away from their circle of friends and family, millennials expect the same fully connected lifestyle within the workplace, and this expectation is a huge driving force for workplace innovation. Take co-working spaces like WeWork for example; they are booming, partly because they enable millennials’ desire for high-speed connectivity, seamless technology experiences, and a sense of community with their colleagues.
This employee desire to connect to everything and everyone, online and offline, at all times presents employers with a unique opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. If employees can deliver the collaborative and connected spaces that workers desire, they will not only boost staff retention and wellbeing but they will also drive efficiency, engagement and productivity.
Recognise that employees want fluid spaces
The genuine opportunity for employers is in crafting a destination for teams and individuals; one that mimics the environment that millennials 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.
Powering the employee need for connectivity
Last year, adults spent around 68% of their time connected to the internet via their mobile phones – a rise of 44% since 2015. 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), enabling staff to have the power needed to move seamlessly between meetings and spaces, creating a more engaged, productive and efficient workforce.
Create a space which works in harmony with its users
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 on how spaces are being utilized by their staff. A real data-driven culture based on facts, instead of predictions, is critical in designing an employee-first workplace.
Having a fully connected workforce at your fingertips not only gives employers the opportunity to shape the workplace around their needs and demands but it will also increase productivity by making the working day as seamless as possible. Within the dominant millennial workforce, there’s no employee that wouldn’t want a workplace specifically designed to meet their needs. Employers will not only create a happy, satisfied workforce by exceeding employee expectations, they will also create a workforce which thrives.