It’s been many years now that the corporate industry has been imagining, talking over, predicting, and in some cases, executing the Workplace of the Future. Some companies started as long as 15 years ago and others are just thinking about it today. Well, the Workplace of the Future is no longer something we are looking ahead to, it’s here. Now it’s simply Workplace Strategy. Research shows over and over again that with the rapid pace of Baby Boomers retiring and Millennials joining the workforce, it’s evident that a massive change is upon us.
For those who are starting to visualize their Workplace Strategy, here is a bit of history as it pertains to the execution of technology within the workplace:
- 1960s – Technology had little impact on our day-to-day lives and activities, inside and outside of the workplace. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Robert Denard’s invention of DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) wasn’t impressive, it truly was a computer chip that dramatically changed the evolution of computing power. However, consumers didn’t see this impact on their daily lives until much later. Communication was beginning to catch on globally but was still challenging for companies. With that, and the lack of infrastructure available, led to a significant impact on where organizations should (and could) build new locations.
- 1970s – Even with the introduction of email, technology innovation remained minimal because large corporations concentrated on revenues and margins. Consumers were concerned about monopolies and felt as though customer satisfaction was no longer top of mind from Fortune 1000 organizations. Technology innovation continued to boom with things like the daisy-wheel printer, floppy disk, Pong as the first video game, and it was only in 1973 when Ethernet (basically your local area network) was invented by Xerox.
- 1980s – Technology companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Apple, and AT&T truly began to change consumer behaviors. With the inventions of the computer and mobile phone, technology quickly invaded the home and workplace, significantly increasing communications and helping consumers to make more well-informed decisions. Organizations learned the ability to expand their footprint; and realized by thinking about how employees worked and analyzing the tools they utilized, these technologies could increase employee productivity.
- 1990s – Now we’re talking…Technology was everywhere and allowed consumers to be more globally connected. With the World Wide Web introduced in 1989, the “DOT.com” bust took place and corporations used the web to make themselves more accessible to consumers by increasing the ability to adapt based on the customer and interaction type; though still not focused on the employee experience.
- 2000s – Devices such as the Apple iPod and iPhone, and search engines like Google enabled seamless communications across the globe. Social media sites like Myspace and Facebook introduced ways of providing depths of connectivity and constant access to everyone and everything. Companies began to think about office hoteling, shared spaces, open concepts and new ways of increasing productivity from an employee’s perspective; as well as how these new devices and ways of communication would affect the consumer.
- 2010s – Technology has become fully integrated into every aspect of a consumer’s personal and professional life, and constantly affects and interrupts us. The adoption curves based on generations have clearly defining lines – Baby Boomers are slower to adopt technology but have more discretionary income to spend on it, while Millennials are the first to adopt new technology but the last to invent it. Consumers are able to fully educate themselves; making faster and smarter decisions than ever before. With this never ending power at their fingertips, corporations need to engage with consumers and employees on a never-done-before level.
Today, and in the future, it’s time (and necessary) to build-out the pervasive technologies that encompass the Workplace Strategy. In the words of the late, great NFL head coach George Allen, “The Future is Now.” If you’re waiting for the future to come, it’s too late, because the future has already come and gone. In fact, it’s happened multiple times.
The next installment of this series will publish on June 2nd.
WRITTEN BY: DAN HECKMAN, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT – SOLUTIONS AT SITEREADY