The Evolving Workforce

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
workplace…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.

 

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