Future of work is not just a theoretical concept anymore

|January 10, 2018 0

Soma Tah

Digital technologies are changing the way we work. Moving away from the concept of a fixed workstation, organizations now have started embracing remote working, encouraging the adoption of digital collaboration tools to allow more flexible working hours.

But the transition process is not always smooth for all the organizations. For example, the productivity gap between different generations of employees tends to widen more in a workforce spanning across different age groups. With an increasing number of employees being digital natives who prefer not to be restrained by a location, and the rest comprising of traditional non-digital employees, organizations need to invest in creating systems that minimize the productivity gap between different generations of employees, said Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President & Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix.

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In an interaction with CIOL, Joshi explains the benefits for organizations who choose to shift from a ‘fixed workstation’ to ‘connect-and-collaborate’ structure as well as the challenges they are likely to face during such transitions.

Excerpts: 

Are organizations willing to adopt digital solutions at their workplaces? What are the acceptance levels of such solutions among employees?

Digital India and the impetus provided for the shaping of a digital economy has led to organizations re-thinking their existing business models. This has fundamentally emerged from the need to stay ahead of their competitors while ensuring the adoption of the right solutions to achieve their business objectives. The emergence of new competition with sharp digital tools has also led to a nationwide need to adapt to this transition. This, in turn, has led to organizations being relatively open to adopting such solutions in order to set their business growth onto an augmented path.

Having said that, what remains critical is the need to utilize the skills of employees, who form an important layer of the organizational set-up. With a workforce’s age bracket spanning across age groups, businesses need to work towards understanding their employees’ capabilities and accordingly utilize them in the business’ interest.

In terms of an approach, for younger employees, who can be classified as “digital natives” due to their affinity to technology, a ‘mobile-first’ or ‘digital lead’ strategy will work better. On the other hand, it is possible that the older employees who had earlier resorted to traditional methods may struggle with the transition. Given this, businesses are gradually moving towards peer-to-peer learning programs to balance the playing field. These programs allow employees to learn from each other’s capabilities and therefore help in smoothening the transition to digital processes.

What kind of organizational changes does the future of work entail?

Enterprises are undergoing a number of changes to better adapt to the ever-changing technology landscape. These changes being implemented right at the source of a business’ technology set-up, affect all the stakeholders involved. Depending on the scale of an organizations’ transition, employers need to ensure that the process is relatively smooth so as to prevent disruption of the established order of delivery. In order to counter the unavoidable deficits, businesses should rely on conducting regular training sessions. Considering the fact that newer processes will require existing employees to update their skill sets, businesses should also look at actively investing in their education. Additionally, the flow of resources should be directed towards hiring the right talent who can use these tools to the best of their abilities to land new opportunities for the enterprise.

Another recurring theme across organizations will be the shift towards a ‘connect-and-collaborate’ structure. With the emergence of intelligent software capable of completing mundane everyday tasks with greater efficiency and accuracy, roles of employees will largely move from execution to supervision. In such a situation, it becomes important to balance the working of machines and humans such that their output is positively impacted. Therefore, businesses will have to re-align their focus such that machines and humans support one another and fill in for each other’s limitation.

What are the benefits and risks associated with new-age solutions like mobility, VDI, cloud, analytics etc.?

A large number of enterprises have been resorting to advanced technology to overcome shortcomings encountered due to traditional and age-old methods. We are already witnessing the revolutionary ways in which technologies like AI, cloud, analytics, and IoT are changing processes in our daily lives. Their ability to digitize processes and make coordination seamless makes them a favorable investment for most enterprises. Furthermore, when integrated into workspaces, they drive countless opportunities, serve as a cost-effective medium and drive positive change. Realizing the countless benefits associated with these digital solutions, organizations have now begun adopting them at an augmented rate.

However, with every technological innovation, organizations need to be cognizant of the risks involved as well. With processes becoming increasingly digitized and reliance on technology growing, businesses now are more susceptible to malicious threats due to the nature of data storage. The SME industry particularly is at a higher risk as their business model allows for remote functioning with lesser-equipped security blanket available at their disposal.

When compared to global markets, what does the future of work look like in India?

Globally, the way businesses operate is undergoing a tectonic change, with technology right at its epicenter. Systems, policies, tools and people’s approach to processes, are all changing in tandem with the digital revolution. In a bid to find their place on the prevalent technology bandwagon, organizations have been heavily investing in solutions that are capable of fast-tracking their pace of growth. Having said that, what makes itself abundantly evident is the fact that future of work is no longer just a theoretical concept but businesses’ gradual progression towards enhanced capabilities.

Closer to home, India is on the cusp of technology advancement and IT restructuring. Organizations big and small, have been embracing the benefits aligned with digital solutions such as enterprise mobility, cloud, virtualization etc. This growing acceptance has led to the creation of endless opportunities for solutions like enterprise mobility among others that enable digitized work solutions. Therefore, the future of work in India is a digital workspace that is built on a collaborative learning environment where machines and humans learn from each other to promote smoother operations.

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