Technology has had a tremendous, almost unimaginable impact on how organizations operate. From Human Resources and Administration to Information Technology and Security, departments across every organization are driven and impacted by technological advancements. Experts in the industry believe that the technological revolution we are witnessing today indicates the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, “The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent.” It implies that present-day technology advances are exponential and will continue to shape the ‘Future of the workplace‘ as far as one can perceive.
This technological change spurs structural changes in the economy and society, making it imperative for every small and large organization to respond to change rapidly. Consequently, organizations around the globe have started adopting new-age technologies to drive growth, future-proof their businesses, and stay ahead of their competition.
Though digitization undoubtedly empowers organizations to keep growing, it is up to the employees in organizations to identify the areas where technology can best serve them. And to recognize that organizations must understand the forces driving change and their impact on people and implications for the workplace.
Trends Defining the Future of Workplace
Technological advancements are defining the way we do things. It disrupts businesses as old ways become obsolete and new models emerge. However, it is the people who must deal with the disruption. They are the ones who need to learn new skills and adapt to new ways of working. Some of the major workplace trends today that are revolutionizing the way we work, impacting the future expectations from a modern workplace are:
1: Presence of Digital Natives in the Workplace
Today’s workforce comprises five generations — from the last of the Silent Generation through Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, to Gen Z. However, according to Forbes, Millennials are on the verge of becoming an overwhelming majority in the workforce (75 percent by 2025). Gen Z is fast on its heels; the combined influence of the two generations will dramatically transform workplace dynamics.
These generations demand flexibility that was never a part of organizational work culture earlier. They want to work wherever they want, whenever they want, and have touchdown spaces where they can connect with their colleagues whenever required. These digital natives enjoy doing more when they get the flexibility to work remotely, get opportunities to set their priorities straight, and see themselves doing things for a good cause that is positively impacting society.
2: Blurring Boundaries of Time and Place
The traditional boundaries of time and place have blurred over time. Employees in an organization are no longer working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; neither are their locations fixed. They communicate with customers, partners, and colleagues working at distant places according to their time zones.
Additionally, due to the rise in remote working scenarios, employees are leveraging co-working spaces to work remotely and get an office-like environment simultaneously.
This makes it essential for an organization to provide employees with advanced communication and collaboration facilities that can help them communicate seamlessly with their customers and colleagues while ensuring the complete security of shared information.
3: Need for Faster Turn-around Time
Over the last few years, changing customer behavior, consumer demands, and competition in the market have forced organizations to adopt new technologies and deliver quality faster. To meet the changing expectations, organizations are automating repeated, time-consuming, mundane, yet business-critical tasks. This empowers employees in an organization to focus on tasks that require ‘human intelligence‘.
However, this increased adoption of automation technologies sometimes creates a sense of insecurity in the employees. They fear losing their jobs due to the advancements in technology. In the coming years, organizations are supposed to remind people about the importance of humans in all technical processes or the dangers of ignoring them. To use automation to their advantage, humans and machines are expected to work together in loop to achieve common business goals.
Microsoft Technologies that will Transform the Future of Work
1: Mesh for Microsoft Teams to Meta Quest devices
The past few years have turned every organizations’ focus toward communication, collaboration, and workflows, which is why the popularity of Microsoft Teams has grown to 270 million monthly active users, making it the most ubiquitous platform for workplace collaboration and business processes.
However, today, employees crave more engaging environments while working remotely. To this, experts believe that the Metaverse will play a key role in providing new ways of connecting. In fact, Microsoft’s Work Trend Index data shows that 50% of Gen Z and millennials envision doing some of their work in the metaverse in the next two years.
In that spirit, Microsoft announced Microsoft Mesh, a technology solution that enables users to feel each other’s presence and share the same experiences from anywhere – on any device – through mixed reality applications. Microsoft announced Mesh for Microsoft Teams (a featured application based on Microsoft Mesh) to Meta Quest devices. Mesh for Teams is based on Microsoft Cloud innovation and leverages Azure Digital Twins to Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Teams video meetings. This new facility enables employees to work in close collaboration by gathering virtually in one place through any device. Implementing Mesh for Teams with Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2 devices will allow organizations to empower their employees to connect and collaborate as though they are together in person.
2: Project Alexandria in Viva Topics
Many organizations report that investing in big data initiatives has been profitable for them. To make its adoption easier for every small and big organization, Microsoft is working on a new project called Project Alexandra. This project aims to turn big data into a single consistent knowledgebase that is easily accessible and useful for organizations.
Project Alexandria plays a pivotal role in Viva Topics. This project, in combination with other data mining technologies, helps users to identify topics and rich metadata related to their organization or industry and enhance the end-user experience. Thus, it enables employees to work effectively with organizational knowledge.
3: Call, Meet, and Chat with Microsoft Teams Phone
To thrive in a hybrid work culture, organizations need to have proper communication solutions in place that enable the employees in an organization to communicate with each other even when they are in distant places.
Therefore, Microsoft is constantly upgrading the basic features of Microsoft Teams, making it much more relevant for the future of work. With the new features in Microsoft Teams Phone, people can work together directly and access chats, team channels, and shared content, all from one place. This means they get everything in one place in just a few clicks. Some of its discernible benefits include:
- Cloud-based phone system
- Make and receive voice and video calls over PSTN or an internet connection
- Join calls from a range of devices and seamlessly transfer calls between devices
- Add operator PSTN service with Operator Connect or Direct Routing
- Integrate mobile calling plans with Operator Connect Mobile
- 99.99% uptime SLA
- Productivity apps and services
- Enterprise-grade security and compliance
4: Transform Places into productive spaces with Microsoft Places
Microsoft Places is a new connected workplace platform that enables organizations to optimize the workplace and reimagine their existing hybrid and in-person working scenarios. This platform can be seamlessly integrated with other applications in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. It can be accessed by the employees from their home offices or elsewhere they might be working.
Microsoft Places combines multiple planning and resource management solutions that enable employees and managers to collaborate in person and plan their in-office days based on when their co-workers will also be coming in. The core focus of the platform is to help managers coordinate with their staff, collaborate, stay on top of deliveries, and achieve business outcomes through hybrid scheduling and intelligent technology. Leveraging this platform, organizations can engage, empower, and organize their teams like never before.
Future-proof your Business by Keeping up with the Change
AgreeYa, a global Systems Integrator and a Microsoft Legacy Gold Partner, has been helping organizations to stay connected and productive through many business solutions such as Teams Assessment, RPA, Chatbot, Cloud Enablement, Smart Analytics, and Business Application Modernization, among others. Being in the industry for over two decades, we understand the challenges organizations face while adopting a new technology solution. If you are considering implementing a new-age solution to future-proof your business, connect with our experts.