The Changing Workplace: Is Your Business Ready?
Have you ever heard the phrase that "change is inevitable?" Well, change is an expected part of life and this includes the workplace.
Changes in the workplace have been brought forth by several different factors, including the advancement in technology, the shift in the generational workforce, and the current rise of artificial intelligence (AI). To see how these changes have impacted and continue to impact the workplace check out the overview below.
The Impact of Technology on the Workplace
Can you imagine working without technology? Well, not too long ago, this was a reality, as workplaces didn't have access to the technological advancements that we do today to help connect a global workforce.
Thanks to computers and access to the internet, a major technological advancement that took place was the introduction of email. Do you remember when email was new to the workplace? It was an exciting time, as employees across the world could stay connected with the click of the send button.
Today, email is used to have formal conversations, but it doesn't offer the opportunity for quick answer interactions that employees crave. Cue group chat software. Group chat software provides a way for employees to instantly message one another, leading to conversations that get them the fast answers they want. This software makes it easier to collaborate on projects and contains plug-ins that allow you to share your screen, video call, voice call, schedule meetings, send files and more!
Group chat software also makes it easier for businesses to have online meetings. All you have to do is video or voice call the person you have a meeting with, and then you can share your screen if needed, making it easier for the people you are virtually meeting with to follow along with your presentation.
While email and group chat software were originally only accessible through a computer, today, this isn't the only option. Technology is always advancing, and one of those advancements was the smartphone. Smartphones were revolutionary. They gave us the opportunity to stay connected anywhere and everywhere. This "opportunity" to always be connected is a choice that employees have decided to take. Which has resulted in many employers having to deal with a new problem, cell phone addiction in the workplace.
The Impact the Generational Shift has on the Workplace
Each generation has been impacted by different life experiences. Therefore, they each have different wants and needs. When we look at the generations of workers in the workplace, they include Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers, Millennials and Gen Zers. So, what do businesses do when they are made up of different generations? Businesses tend to cater to the largest generation making up the workforce - which is currently the millennial generation. Let's have a look to see how the workplace has changed to adjust to the generational shift.
1. Change to the Physical Workplace
Unlike the generations before them, Millennials are a collaborative group who don't normally like to work in isolation. Companies who are looking to attract top talent have taken notice and are adapting to these changes. Instead of the old model of divided cubicles, companies are now creating open office workspaces. These types of offices encourage the collaboration that Millennials want and lead to the innovative ideas that small businesses need.
2. Work-life Balance
For the Baby Boomer generation, work-life balance was not a key concern. What they cared about was Finding a stable job. However, the generations that came after, have a different outlook on work-life balance. Seeing how much their parents missed out, Gen-Xer put a heavy emphasis on a need for a work-life balance.
With this shift in needs, for companies to attract and retain top talent, it is important to show that they care about employees achieving work-life balance. A large part of this is creating a work environment that allows for flexible schedules, which should include allowing employees to work from home.
The Impact Artificial Intelligence (AI) has on the Workplace
AI in the business world is a competitive tool that is quickly becoming the new norm. So, what is AI? AI refers to the ability of machines to imitate intelligent human behaviour. This can also be seen in their ability to solve future problems by learning from past interactions. AI has slowly been changing the way businesses work and will continue to do so in the future. Below we will look at two different ways AI is being used in businesses today.
1. Online Customer Support
Customer service has and always will be an important part of any business. Live service reps have been the go-to for many years to answer any customer inquiries. But these reps don't work 24/7, which means customers can't get answers when they want it.
Having great customer service can be difficult today, largely because customers expect answers as fast as possible. Luckily with AI, businesses can use chatbots to answer questions as fast as possible.
2. AI Personal Assistant
Running a business, small or large is a lot of work. Sometimes performing the smaller tasks can take away from doing more urgent projects. Normally personal assistants or office administrators are hired to help, but even they may get overwhelmed. This is where AI comes in. AI now makes it possible for businesses to leverage a "smart assistant", a software that performs tasks on an individual's behalf. These smart assistants can work to help small business owners, personal assistants and office administrators.
If you're wondering the different ways that these smart assistants can help, look no further. Some examples include making travel arrangements for a business trip and letting you know the details based on voice command. They can also perform data handling tasks based on online information without user initiation, including sending out a text message or confirming a meeting with a client.
Has your Workplace Changed?
It's important to recognize that the workplace has changed and will continue to change. There will always be new disruptors affecting businesses today and in the future. As a business owner, it's up to you to decide if and how you will adapt.