We’re a month into 2016, and while for most people, it’s business as usual, there are always some changes we can expect to creep up on us and, if we’re not prepared, take us by surprise. Early in January, the Consumer Electronics Show gave us a sneak peek at the technology taking the consumer world by storm, and while there’s some crossover between the average Joe and your business (more on that later), there’s no denying the trends set to impact technology and IT departments in 2016 are unique to businesses and their employees. So what’s ahead for the workplace?
Wearables in the workplace – Wearable technology been on the rise for consumers for the last few years, and did make a splash again at CES this year. But how are wearables impacting businesses? With more and more businesses focused on wellness, as Staples Business Advantage Executive Vice President Neil Ringel spoke about to CIO recently, wearables are making their way to the forefront as a workplace tool.
“It’s critical for businesses to implement strategies focused on improving employees’ productivity, health and happiness.” – Neil Ringel, Executive Vice President of Staples Business Advantage
Drones do the work – When drones first burst onto the scene, the primary business use people devised for them was as a delivery mechanism. While there are businesses taking advantage of the technology in this way, other businesses have found other uses. For businesses like real estate companies, drones are a whole new way to look at (and sell) property. And for businesses with remote, hard-to-reach locations, like engineering or industrial pursuits, drones can be helpful to get a line of sight on something that might otherwise be inaccessible—or unsafe for human workers.
Workplace flexibility – Another concept that came up in CIO’s recent article was the one thing workers are increasingly more motivated by: flexibility in the workplace. As seen in our Workplace Index, job seekers consider flexibility a priority when they are looking for opportunities, and that priority has led many to work in freelancing capacities. So what does this mean for IT departments and tech gurus? An increased need for technology that enables flexible work and the security measures that go along with it.
Office design – Flexibility in the workplace has had a big impact on office design over the last few years, with open offices and collaborative spaces continuing to evolve in offices around the world. The relationship between technology and design (and the IT department and designers) is and should be a two-way street: the proliferation of mobile technology has contributed to the rise in collaborative or more non-traditional workspaces, and the rise of the adaptive office calls for more mobile technology. IT departments, designers and facility managers should work together to ensure that workers have the right space for their tech, and the right tech for their space.
Managed mobility – One big risk in the need for increased flexibility is the security of your office technology and devices. Mobile devices, “bring your own device” (BYOD) programs and other flexible technologies mean there are more opportunities for vulnerabilities to crop up in your company’s network. Now, more than ever, mobile device management is crucial to companies’ ability to stay current while also staying secure.
The war for talent – Like many other fields, IT continues to be a highly competitive field as employers seek to attract and retain top talent. IT managers will see the same trends in their own job seekers as others have seen: the rise of millennial workers, the importance of employee engagement, and the need to invest in creating a workplace that is welcoming and rewarding for employees.
As we continue forward in 2016, how is your company (and your IT department) preparing for these trends in technology and talent?