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Brave New World: How Millennials Want to Get the Job Done

3 Jun 2016 by Susie Steckner

The workplace is changing like never before.

We work in the office, but also at home and on the road. We rely on our mobile devices to meet all our needs. We want simplified communication and collaboration.

Every day, we expect a seamless work experience. And we’re not looking back.

Not surprisingly, tech-savvy — and highly in-demand — millennials are driving this sea change. Businesses that are embracing this transformation will reap the greatest rewards: new levels of productivity, increasing innovation, employee retention, more opportunity to attract talent.

Businesses that don’t will be left behind.

“This is finally how we expect to get work done,” says Rich Nockels, Intel business client marketing manager. “We want wireless, mobile, performance, cool form factors, easy communication, security we don’t have to worry about.

“This is taking complexity out of work.”

Millennial generation

Millennials number roughly 75 million in the US today. They have grabbed the top spot as the nation’s largest living generation, surpassing Baby Boomers, the latest population estimates show, and a similar proportion in Australia.

By 2020, Millennials will make up 50% of the global workforce. And their expectations in the workplace are markedly different than other generations.

What they want — They expect flexibility on the job, the chance to climb the ladder quickly, opportunities to keep learning, encouragement to innovate and tech that can keep up with it all. They aren’t afraid to walk away from the job if these expectations aren’t being met.

What they don’t want — Millennials are turned off by unbending corporate structures and information silos. They don’t want to be tied to a desk. They won’t tolerate poor enterprise tech.

Is it any surprise that we’re experiencing a transformation in the workforce?

Changing workplace

As more and more businesses evolve to meet the new demands of the workplace, some trends are undeniably clear. A joint study by Intel and Dell reveals just how much technology is changing the way employees expect to work.

Multiple devices — Employees are using multiple devices to get their jobs done, but 2-in-1 adoption is growing. Performance matters most. More than 80% say performance is among the top priorities.

More mobility — The work week typically looks something like this for employees: 29 hours in the office, five hours working from home, four hours working at an external location such as a client’s office, and two hours working in public places. Mobility is a must today.

Latest and greatest — Employees are expecting the newest workplace tech. In fact, one quarter of all employees globally could be lured away based on the tech offered by a competitor. The same goes for managers, who say the best tech will keep them at the organisation.

Productivity gains — No doubt about it: Tech influences productivity. Nearly 50% say tech has increased their productivity and enabled them to communicate faster.

On the horizon — Employees predict a bright tech future, with a broad range of changes: voice recognition will replace the keyboard (92%), tablets will completely replace laptops (87%), all computers will use hand gestures (87%).

Digital world

In today’s workplace, it’s easy to see that millennials’ use of technology sets them apart.

“One of the defining characteristics of the millennial generation is their affinity with the digital world,” says the Millennials at work study. “They have grown up with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media being the norm and expect instant access to information. This is the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of a key business tool than more senior workers.”

“Millennials expect the technologies that empower their personal lives to also drive communication and innovation in the workplace,” the study says.

Work smarter

Intel’s Nockels sees three key trends in the changing workplace.

  1. Form and function — We have a much greater choice of form factors, with a wide variety of microprocessors, to meet every need. The goal in the workplace: Give end users the performance they want. One employee may want thin, light and fanless. Another may need mobility but a larger screen. And still another may need to work on the go with plenty of computing power.
  2. Easier collaboration — Connected meetings are vital in today’s business world. Businesses are equipping meeting spaces with a mini PC featuring the Intel Core vPro processor technology and Intel Unite software to power secure, connected meeting spaces. After a one-time software install, colleagues are instantly connected. Fumbling with cables and dongles is a thing of the past.
  3. Wireless docking — We want to be wire free at the workstation. In an ideal work world, employees arrive at their desks or workspaces and wirelessly pair all their peripherals. If they are mobile during the day, they can easily return to their workspace and quickly sync up everything.

Employees, particularly millennials, expect a seamless experience in the workplace today, Nockels says.

“This transformation was long overdue and from the millennial perspective, it can’t stop here,” Nockels says. “This should kick off a continuous transformation.”