Discuss about the Future Workplace Challenges and Opportunities.
Organizations in today’s generation have been changing rapidly in terms of diversity, culture and competition. The human resource department of the company is constantly on its toes to combat with these changes by managing the workforce effectively and productively. The Human Resource Management plays an important role in building the strategy of the organization with changes in the workplace. Workplaces have to constantly emphasize on attracting and retaining the best talent in the industry, otherwise the competitors may outplay them in terms of strategic employment.
There is an enormous increase in competition, locally and globally, therefore it is important that workplaces become more adaptable, resilient and also tend to get customer focused. An organization would be successful with the changes occurring by thoroughly understand the organization policies and be able to take key decisions with great responsibility.
The HR of the company has the main role of focusing on the strategic personnel for retention and talent management. The HR of the company will become coaches, mentors, advisers, counselors and succession planners in order to motivate the employees and their loyalty. With continuous changes occurring in the workplace the HR also has to maintain the ethics, values and beliefs in the management of the workplace diversity.
Josh Greenberg defines workplace diversity as various differences that exist among the people in an organization. Workplace diversity includes aspects more than variety of differences that exist among the people who work in place. The diversity explained includes the race, gender, age group, nationality, tenure, background, education etc. Diversity at a workplace involve mutual acceptance of the value that is placed on the differences among the people (Ouye, 2011).
Diverse workforce has its set of advantages. They implement an effective diversity recruitment strategy. It provides a platform wherein people from various backgrounds can come together and work as a group. It is included in the company’s employment policies and helps in achieving equality, as there is a fair process of hiring employees. For a company to achieve workplace diversity into its organization it is necessary that they have a workplace diversity program established. It should create equitable employment opportunities for all the employees (Chan, 1998).
Workplaces of the future would face many changes that what it is in the present day. With advancements in technology there are changes that take place rapidly. The topic I have chosen for predicted future workplace changes is- Employees will use apps to manage their work and personal life.
Employees using Apps
As more and more organizations are going mobile in today’s trend, the future workplace will have most of the employees using mobile apps for their professional and personal lives. With such technological advancement the executives and managers of the organization will require better and enhanced solutions to manage their field workers, their office staff and systems. Also the flow of communication should be accessible to all employees from top to bottom of the organization. Sharing of information should be made easier and available at all times.
One of the most important challenges that the management of an organization would face with the employees using apps would be tracking them and providing them with up-to-date and real-time information across various platforms (Stanley, 2015). With the trend of using mobile phones going on rise it cannot be characterized as a trend but it has become a reality. Under the Workplace of the Future global survey conducted by Citrix, it was found that in the future of workplace each person would use about 6 devices to perform his/her work.
Smartphone was a term that had been used for a long time. However the meaning has changed in the due course of time. The invention of Internet has made the smartphone even better. Litchfield in his article, “Defining the Smartphone”, had defined it as a device that engages in opening new apps using operating system, and is constantly connected to the internet (Litchfield 2010). He stated it rightly because only when the Internet is connected to the device will people be able to do various things.
Workplaces are trending to show that more people have started using their smartphones. Forrester, a research company had estimated that by the year 2016, about 350 million employees who have a smartphone, and among 57% of these would be bringing their smartphones to work (Chen, 2012). Employees are using apps in their smartphones in order to manage their work and personal life in a better way. Smartphones have their own pros and cons. They have various implications the employees, on the HR and the leaders and managers.
Employees are using mobile apps not only for managing their work but also for their personal lives. Apps are used on daily basis to engage into newer activities.
Implications for Employees
There is a constant use of mobile applications (apps) by employees in their personal and professional lives. It comes with challenges and opportunities for the employees. The employees would have to learn constantly to update their skills and knowledge with the growth of technology. The use of apps as technology is believed to increase the productivity at the workplace. The best use of apps by employees for their work includes micro-blogging platforms, wikis, social media, and instant messaging service. These tools help in sharing of information, enhancing their knowledge. These tools are secure and also provide a privacy concern, which is found suitable by employees in their work.
The technology has provided employees with a virtual office. The mobile applications provide a platform as a virtual office, wherein employees can take their office everywhere. For instance if an employee has to reach out somewhere in an emergency, he can still have an access to his work through mobile apps. By this way, he can conduct his/her office work from any place. There are e-mails, laptops, computers, etc. available everywhere.
Just in time workers
The employees are seeking greater ability to look after their families. Employees are seeking for opportunities where they could have greater flexibility in their work. Employees could become contact workers wherein they do not have to be loaded with full time work. This provides them with work-life balance. Employees could make use of apps that could help them in engaging in jobs that are not tedious and also easy to complete.
Employment with choice
The use of mobile apps has provided employees with a wide variety of choices. They have the choice to work from home or at the office set up. They have alternative work arrangements provided by their employers, which are non-traditional and also make them respond to market forces in a better manner.
Wide range of Apps
The employees are provided with a wide range of apps in today’s time. They have ample choices, which makes the work more flexible, and reliable. Some of the apps that employees use for managing their work come in with features like time clock, tracking and status. Employees use apps for their personal lives for shopping like Grofers, Big Basket, Amazon, etc., dating purposes like Tinder, food services like Zomato and Swiggy etc.
Implications on HR
As the demography of the workforce composition changes, the level of motivation and expectations of the employees increase too. The use of apps by employees would bring an enormous change in what they would value the most. It is imperative for the HR to understand these changes. It could be the prestige, autonomy or compensation that the employees would be seeking. The use of mobile apps by employees also poses the challenge as they impact on the commercial, lifestyle and technological factors. For various advantages, the employers also choose to extend their arm in letting their employees to work from anywhere. It has provided the employees with a sense of freedom and flexibility, but has also lead to various challenges and risks.
With the higher usage of mobile apps by the employees, there is higher risk for monitoring the data protection. When the employees are office based, it is not risk-free. When an employee is physically present in an office and using the device provided by them, it is easier for the HR to have a track on the data that he is using (Kushel, 2016). A mobile workforce would create additional challenges for the HR to keep a check on them. Using mobile devices and other devices at other places like their home etc. would complicate the procedure of and process of employee management (TaylorWessing, 2013).
There are some key issues that a HR has to consider when the employees would use apps for managing their work. Some of them are:
- To assess if the devices that are connected are secure compared to the computers provided at the office
- Undertake checks on a regular basis that the level of risks is under acceptable terms.
- Placing of specific systems that could detect the data that is browsed even for home-based devices for mobile employees
- In case the employees are given devices that are used by the company, whether there are proper policies that could prevent them from installing any apps for their own use.
- In case the company allows them to install any apps for their use, their legitimacy has to be crosschecked.
Bring Your Own Device Concept (BYOD)
Many organizations have a policy that allows their employees to bring their own device at workplace (Zielinski, 2012). The level of risks that are associated with this is substantially high. The major risk being that a third party could have an access into the corporate’s data. Clear communication messages should be provided to the employees before hand along with safeguard measures and procedures. On the other hand, the companies can also have a positive outlook on this by providing them with incentives (Merrell, 2012).
However if the company is worried about the privacy of the company’s data privacy then it could give their employees smartphone from themselves. Security reasons are the major concerns, which lead companies to take this step (Brodkin 2011). Therefore in the workplace of future the HR team would be more concerned on how to protect the data of the company with the devices that are used both employees either at office or when they are home based.
Implication on Leaders and Managers
An organization could successfully work if their leaders and managers can understand that their people know how, when and where to work. However the best way to help them with achieving higher performance would be by giving them choices. Therefore if the leaders and managers provide their employees with the choice of using apps for managing their work, it will provide them with a freedom to enhance their work.
Adapting New Practices
The leaders and managers of a company are people who lead the team of people in the direction to achieve the goals. With the increase in changes of work pattern, it is important and imperative that the leaders of a company adapt to accepting new practices. With the use of mobile apps, the employees could be scattered around geographically, therefore the leaders need to develop policies to manage them accordingly.
With changing trends, it is imperative that the managers ensure that the culture of the company is maintained at all levels. In the advent of changes the most difficult part is changing the people. When people get used to one style of working, it is difficult to make them adapt to new things. In order to achieve this, the leaders should involve their employees in the planning process, which would help in assessing their feedback and their choice of work.
Autonomy and Morale
The use of smartphones at workplace would help in promoting autonomy and also boost the morale of the employees. When the employees use their own device it would have better lifestyle and technology enhanced.
Every organization has its flow of information in the organization. The leaders and managers of an organization primarily focus on how they could share information with their employees in the most accessible manner. Integrating more social network applications in the future workplace would attain higher knowledge sharing. One of the most popular knowledge sharing tools used today is “Cloud Computing”, which is hosted by other companies. Some of the sites are Facebook, YouTube, and Google Docs etc. (Anderson 2010).
Smartphones used in the future workplace would have potential benefits to the organization and employees by strengthening their relationships with others, autonomy, and enhancing knowledge sharing. These factors are important for the growth of the workplace of future. Their potential benefits would boost the morale of the employees, provide job satisfaction, and increase productivity. Smartphones would enable the people in the organization to become productive and profitable (Carayannis & Clark, 2011). It could be a case of win-win situation if the employees, the HR and leaders and managers work together in progress.
Anderson, J.Q & Rainie, L. 2010. The future of cloud computing. Pew Researcher Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 1-3, viewed June 2010, from https://www.pewinternet.org/2010/06/11/the-future-of-cloud-computing/
Brodkin, J. 2011, “Wells Fargo says no to smartphone and tablets”, in Network (Online), 24 March 45-49.
Carayannis, E.G., & Clark, S. C., 2011, “Do Smartphones make for better business?” the Smartphone CEO Study, Journal for Knowledge Economy, 2(2), 201-233.
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Chen, B. X 2012, “Get ready for 1 billion smartphones by 2016”, The New York Times, viewed 07 March 2012, from https://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/getready-for-1-billion-smartphones-by-2016-forrester-says/?_r=0
Kushel, Rachel, 2016, “Does Use of Apps Lead to Violations of Workplace Policies”, viewed 23 February 2016, from https://www.dataprivacyandsecurityinsider.com/2016/02/does-employees-use-of-apps-lead-to-violations-of-workplace-policies/
Litchfield, S. 2010. “Defining the Smartphone”, viewed July 16 2010, from https://www.allaboutsymbian.com/features/item/Defining_the_Smartphone.php
Stanley, Robert 2015, “Mobile Apps in the Workforce”, viewed July 9 2015, from https://www.clicksoftware.com/blog/mobile-apps-in-the-workforce-overcoming-challenges-to-reap-the-benefits-of-a-fully-mobile-workforce/
Ouye, Joe Aki, 2011, “Five Trends that are dramatically changing work and workplace”, 3-5, viewed September 2011, from https://www.knoll.com/media/18/144/WP_FiveTrends.pdf
Merrell, Miller. J. 2012, “The workplace engagement economy where HR and tech collide”, Employment Relations Today, n.d, 1-9
TaylorWessing 2013, “A mobile workforce, The HR and data protection challenges”, viewed at 09 April 2013, from https://www.taylorwessing.com/globaldatahub/article_hr_dp_mobile.html
Zielinski, D. 2012, “Bring your own Device”, HR Magazine, February 2012, 71-74