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Preparing for the Workforce of Tomorrow, Today - An Interview with Apogee's CEO

News of the office’s demise has proven greatly exaggerated. In fact, Covid has only accelerated its potential as an innovative, open space for collaboration across hybrid working environments.

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Employees are recognising the benefits of this ‘new normal’, where blended office and remote responsibilities allow for greater work-life integration. As competition ramps up and companies vie to attract talent, the onus is on employers to redefine their workspaces by providing flexible, cloud-enabling connectivity.

But to deliver these high standards, businesses everywhere need to step up – fast. Currently, standard offerings fail to meet the expectations of the upcoming generation of tech-savvy workers, who demand personalised, intuitive systems and solutions on the latest devices. To keep pace, it is vital that businesses prepare their environments now to appeal to the workforce of tomorrow.

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Who are the workforce of tomorrow?

The workforce of tomorrow are digital natives: they have used the Internet and other technologies from a young age in both their personal and educational lives. Accustomed to dependable and frictionless technology 24/7, they learn at high speed and have very little tolerance for low-tech or disjointed digital systems. This new generation can offer employers wide-ranging knowledge and skills; in return, they demand seamless experiences within businesses that value flexibility and personal freedom.

In many ways, the future workforce are already here. According to Citrix, about 50% of workers find themselves as digital natives; by 2025, this figure will rise to 75%. As the workforce evolves, the line between personal life and professional life will continue to blur. The core values individuals hold in their private lives will extend into the workplace, so employees will look for business cultures that align with their personal vision.

 

Lagging behind

While the pandemic has seen accelerated digitisation in many organisations, the standard offering is still worlds away from what the workforce of tomorrow expect and need. Too many companies rely on outdated systems that don’t offer employees the flexibility and simplicity they enjoy in their private lives. Businesses that fail to invest in their office spaces and technology will lose talented employees to more forward-thinking and adaptable competitors.

Research by Apogee found that more than a third (35%) of UK employees have struggled to transition from work to home to hybrid due to technological problems. While working from home during the pandemic, almost half (45%) of workers were left frustrated with laptops and hardware not functioning properly. We have seen levels of frustration grow exponentially as workplace technology standards fail to match the frictionless, intuitive systems used outside of work.

 

The price of frustration

Frustrated employees are disengaged employees. They are not inspired by workplace tasks and feel dissatisfied with the returns on their time and effort. With a new generation becoming key players in the ’war for talent’, businesses cannot afford to frustrate their workforce with subpar equipment.

Lacking adequate IT solutions also impacts workforce productivity. Companies hit by downtime and technical glitches stand to lose money as precious time is wasted on troubleshooting.

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A solution fit for the future

Businesses need to redefine their workplace environments today to attract and retain the workforce of tomorrow. They have a unique opportunity to revolutionise the footprint of their offices by transforming them into collaborative, hybrid-ready spaces. These spaces should offer an engaging people experience to employees, who will be further empowered with interactive and intuitive technology.

If organisations provide technologies and systems with the same level of dependability, access, and user-friendliness as the ones staff use in their personal lives, they will reap the benefits. Frustration will diminish, giving rise to an engaged and productive workforce who feel able to freely express themselves. Dynamic and flexible businesses will naturally attract the best talent, creating a virtuous circle that drives sustained growth.

Sustainability is another important factor to consider. As tomorrow’s workforce seek continuity between their personal life and professional life, they will gravitate towards organisations that reflect their own values. Sustainable workplace solutions are no longer just ‘nice to have’ – they are a prime driver in attracting key talent. Offices that move to more sustainable energy sources will make a positive impact, both on the planet and on potential employees.

Being prepared for tomorrow’s workforce requires more than lip service and deliveries of shiny new laptops. Businesses should avoid implementing new technology for technology’s sake and instead invest in the right level of technical service and support to employees. Many forward-thinking companies are outsourcing their workplace service supplier for this reason: a single and dependable go-to organisation can provide reliable solutions for the whole spectrum of workforce needs.

Businesses must act now to secure a productive and profitable future. To attract and retain the next generation of talent, they need an IT estate that gets the most from their evolving workforce and delivers value back to end customers.



Author - Aurelio Maruggi, Chief Executive Officer

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