Rethinking the way we utilise technology for a modern workforce

20 March 2019

Are we investing in modernising technology that’s tailored to a modern workforce, or blindly investing in technology for technology’s sake?

It’s hard to believe that in 2019 organisations are still hampered by an inability to provide access to technology across of their workforce.

I’m not simply talking about small businesses with a handful of workers, or indeed organisations whose industry is less reliant on technology, such as farmworkers and building contractors, but some of the largest organisations in the UK; retailers, manufacturers and local authorities.

Much has already been written about the ‘connected workforce’ and how organisations that adopt a more collaborative approach are winning in terms of increased productivity and competitiveness.

In fact, a recent report by the Harvard Business Review found that highly connected companies are more than twice as likely as those with low connectivity to report a superior market position, relative to their competitors.

IT works in our personal lives

Outside of work we all enjoy regular access to technology and, many of us have more than one device, with smart phones, tablets and laptops all part of our digital inventory. We can access our data anytime, anywhere, and, let’s be honest, many of us would openly admit to being reliant on our personal technology to help us organise our lives, or to just simply keep us in touch.

Technology is often our crutch for collaboration, productivity and efficiency in our personal lives, so why not apply this logic to the workplace?

It’s not a matter of when for some but if…

For local authorities however, providing IT for a largely dispersed workforce (refuse collectors, gardeners and maintenance workers) is costly and therefore prohibitive.

For the employees holding these types of roles, often the only interaction they have with their organisation is a monthly payslip in an envelope and telephone access to a HR support desk to book holidays, report sickness or check benefits.

But it’s not just simply employee role types that are often excluded from access to corporate IT.

In organisations where the turnover of staff is high, retailers employing seasonal workers or manufacturing organisations where contractors are recruited to support peak demand, find themselves in the position of not having adequate infrastructure in place to accommodate variable team structures.

Once again, the increased cost of scaling up infrastructure to serve the peaks and procuring devices for temporary employees leaves many organisations unconnected, disenfranchised and largely unproductive.

So, whilst many CIOs are driving digital transformation and mobility programmes that drive cost out of their organisations, provide innovation, improve collaboration and productivity, top of their agenda must be the ability to support a distributed or seasonal workforce of mobile millennials.