At Stott Hoare, we recently published a blog called “3 Crucial Elements in Workplace Transformation.” You can find this here.
It spoke about re-designing – and shrinking – office space to allow staff to choose their preferred work setting. It spoke about the provision of technology to ensure that workers had access to data and applications no matter where they were. And it also discussed the need to train people on the new and different ways of working.
All three of these elements – real estate, technology and people – really speak to a single thing: workforce mobility. The freedom to work from anywhere and at any time increases every workers effectiveness. Perhaps the most important of the 3 technologies in workplace transformation is the technology. It is the key enabler for workplace mobility. More about that later.
Beginning with millennials and continuing with the so-called Generation Z, or post-millennials, what attracts these employees to employers and jobs has changed tremendously. There is certainly no expectation of a “job for life.” On the contrary, millennials and gen-z IT workers expect to move jobs frequently. Not only do almost half of millennials expect to stay less than 2 years with the same employer, they’re more willing to embrace the “gig economy” as an alternative to full-time employment. For generation Z, this number is closer to 60%.
Businesses need to focus on issues like diversity, inclusion and flexibility if they want to earn the trust and loyalty of millennial and Gen Z workers. Let’s look at flexibility some more. Today’s younger workers want the flexibility to be able to work from anywhere. They often work way more than 8 hours a day, but they may do it from home, sitting in front of the TV, in bed, or from coffee shops and restaurants. That means providing employees with the means to be able to do this securely.
When they do come into the office, they prefer flexible work environments. Employers such as Telstra are re-designing their office floors to provide sitting desks, standing desks, armchairs and team meeting rooms to encourage collaboration. Screens and network connections are provided so that the only things an employee brings into the office and takes home are their laptop, smartphone and tablet.
What technologies promote and support mobility?
There are a number of tech components or services that either make mobile working easier or safer or both. Here they are:
Laptops are an important consideration. To allow workers to focus on work rather than have to worry about connectivity and performance, they need to be powerful and feature easy connectivity via such facilities as 4G LTE-A. They need to be light, because who needs to carry around a laptop that weighs a ton? They need to be durable and of high quality because laptops that are carried everywhere have to be able to sustain increased handling. They need to have long battery life with fast re-charge times. And of course, security is a major requirement.
These qualities actually describe the range of Lenovo devices available through Stott Hoare. The ThinkPad X1 Series in particular stands out. The X1 Carbon weighs just under 1.2 kilograms and features 4 layers of carbon fibre chassis and a magnesium alloy roll-cage. It delivers up to 15.5 hours of battery life and recharges to 80% battery charge in just one hour. Performance is gained from dual and quad-core processors, up to 8GB of RAM and up to a TB of hard drive capacity. Thunderbolt 3 technology moves massive files, images and video at speeds 8X faster than USB 3.0.
Lenovo’s biometric fingerprint recognition simplifies user security. Intel Authenticate can provide more robust security. Misused and stolen user credentials account for 63% of data breaches. Therefore fingerprint scanning and Intel’s Authenticate provide a high level of confidence that you are defending the business against data loss.
It is often difficult for IT organisations to devote as much bandwidth as is needed to fully support the many devices spread around the business. One of the concerns about mobility is that the degree of difficulty of managing widely-dispersed devices can increase dramatically. How do you ensure that you have a common OS image across the fleet? How do you prevent the installation of non-standard software? How do you manage the lifecycle and arrange the distribution of devices to a widely-dispersed workforce? How do you ensure that the latest patches and versions are uniformly installed across the fleet?
Stott Hoare can provide peace of mind with a range of services that can manage all of those concerns and more, leaving your IT organisation to focus on solutions and services to enhance the business.
Most mobile employees are required, or choose to, come into a central office on a regular basis. Collaboration can occur when workers are co-located, but what if it is difficult to schedule a whole team to be in the same location at the same time?
The Lenovo ThinkSmart Hub 500 is a Microsoft Skype Room Systems-based conference room device. The hardware comes from Lenovo and the software from Microsoft. The Hub is an all-in-one integrated unit with touch panel, integrated microphones and speakers. It typically sits on top of a conference room table and provides Skype for Business-based audio, video and content share capabilities.
This capability can bring together mobile workers for regular meetings or ad hoc collaboration without requiring them to physically come to a central location. The Lenovo ThinkSmart Hub is also available via Stott Hoare.
There’s a technology that speaks to both ubiquitous access to business data and applications, as well as to delivering secure access. Putting key business and mobility apps into the cloud greatly simplifies access for mobile workers to applications and data. The apps can be hosted by a managed service so that security and data protection are the responsibility of third-parties who do this sort of thing at scale and also globally. Cloud apps are an option whether for mobility purposes or not, but they certainly enhance the ubiquity of access and security in a mobile environment.
Offering workplace flexibility to attract today’s millennials and generation-Z workers is no longer an option. They want to work for interesting employers, on interesting projects that stimulate their imagination and challenge their technical capabilities. But they also want workplace flexibility and they expect high-quality work tools. Offering – and securely managing – mobile computing to workers, means creating and managing an environment that promotes productivity but also protects business data and assets.
If you have interest in the Lenovo technologies mentioned in this article, or if you are considering embedding workplace flexibility into your business, and would like to discuss your options, feel free to contact us.