The Evolving WorkforceBy Adriana Karaboutis | Posted 09-12-2012
Did you know that 83% of global workers believe that technology advances have enabled them to be more productive and see this increasing in the future? Dell and Intel explored the link between productivity and technology along with other IT trends that we are seeing influencing today's workplace in the third phase of The Evolving Workforce project.
This final phase highlights insights from industry leaders on key workplace and workforce-related themes identified in the first two phases of the research, and according to these experts, strong relationships between HR departments and IT departments are growing more and more important in both attracting and retaining quality employees. As the report states, "technology provision has the potential to become more of a differentiating factor in choosing where to work."
However, better, more efficient technology also comes with new, morale-related concerns for HR. For example, younger generations are practically demanding that they be allowed to use their personal devices and smartphones for work-related activity. "I think that the 25 and under age group expects more flexibility with the devices they use to perform their work," said Jeff Young, Chief Technology Officer at FactSet Research Systems. "They find it surprising and awkward that we want to issue a BlackBerry when they have a perfectly good Smartphone that they picked and that their life is on."
But does this demand equate to a 24/7 workday? Employees who are "always on?" Are HR departments that recruit younger talent with technology perks also risking burning out their youngest generation of workers, before they're old enough "to know what burnt out means?" The Evolving Workforce research shows that more than four in ten people (43%) around the world do feel under pressure to work longer hours, and "business leaders see IT and HR functions playing a key role in helping employers manage and mitigate the risk of employees feeling overburdened via the increased connectivity offered by new technologies."
One way HR and IT departments are working together to counter the effects of a longer work day is to offer the flexibility associated with remote or at-home working. However, this can come with its own morale-related challenges. "Mobile workers suffer from isolation and distractions and the dependency on social media for connections is also going to reduce the human interaction," said Thomas Frey, Futurist and Executive Director at The Da Vinci Institute. "Therefore, the overall trend of workers working individually is not always the panacea that people think it is."
It's clear that change is the only constant in today's evolving workforce, and in challenging times like these, both HR and IT leaders will need to work together to "proactively manage the health and well-being of their employees in and outside the workplaceâ¦blurring of the lines between work and play - due to 24/7 connectivity - will need to be addressed."
Do these challenges sound familiar to you? Comment here and let us know your thoughts on The Evolving Workforce project and new relationships between HR and IT departments.