“The last Baby Boomers won’t exit the workforce for 12 years and Gen X will leave in 28 years; these groups will continue to adapt, but will always remember a time before digital communications.
Leadership teams need to understand their organization’s demographic makeup and reflect that in day-to-day working relationships and communication. They should recognize that “command and control” will be impacted by technology at work. Online communication triages through command and control.”
New research conducted by London-based Engage for Change and Sydney-based Carlo Communications explores online communication at work, and its effect on employee behavior, performance and fulfillment. The report, Technology at Work, was inspired by:
Unprecedented generational shifts in the workplace
Today’s workforce spans from the generation that remembers a time before television existed to the generation that grew up with Google and social media.
The disappearing office environment and the rise of remote workforces
The physical architecture of work is changing from city offices and business parks, to home desks and remote working.
Blurred lines between the working and non-working day
Many in the workforce are online 24/7, which is accessible by computer, tablet and smart phone and readily logging on at home and working out of hours.
John Smythe, Founder of Engage for Change and Bonnie Carlo of Carlo Communication conducted qualitative and quantitative research into the impact of technology at work across generations.
The research found that most respondents feel that the technology revolution at work is just beginning. Observers noted that a new period of enlightenment will emerge, with technology creating a powerful market of ideas through cultural evolution in organisations.
Key focus group findings:
- Challenges in managing multi-generational teams
All generations, from Baby Boomers to Gen Z, are now in the workplace together – but increasingly they’re not at a common place of work. Managing people takes on a different dimension as people need and expect managers to be digitally fluent.
- A new spin on employee engagement
In the emerging tech workspace, there may only be ‘us’ trading in a ‘market of ideas’, rather than ‘them’ (managers) trying to engage the team. Online communication allows people to reach down and up, across, inside and outside the hierarchy. Power and influence is defusing and constantly re-arranging new spheres of influence.
- The end of the traditional workplace
Remote and flexible working in many organisations can render a physical office unnecessary, with many employers realising the negatives as well as the positives of this development.
- Strategy and change moves online
With the high volumes of online communication in action, change and strategy origination and execution in companies is now beginning to be run online. This is significant as change and strategy used to be the preserve of elites.
The quantitative research showed that email is still the dominant channel in terms of impact and usefulness and face-to-face is the preferred channel for receiving feedback and recognition. However, digital channels are credited with delivering commercial and cultural performance, and great benefits for people when key principles are followed including easy access from all devices, especially smart phones.
Research into technology at work is entering its second phase of exploration, looking at:
- The balance between governance and laissez faire
- The balance between good and poor online communication environments
- Who needs to run air traffic to avoid blinding people with content and interaction
- Engagement models for Millennials
- The consequences of technology-enabled remote working
- What can be done to make technology easier to access
- Case studies of successful implementation
Download your free copy of Technology at Work.
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