“Modern workplace” is fast becoming the new buzz phrase of the IT industry, much like “cloud” was a few years back. Everyone seems to have a different definition, but what does it actually mean?

Whether you entered the workforce pre-2000s like I did or even post 2000, who would have thought that we’d rapidly evolve into not only being truly mobile, but even more than that, have a “modern workplace” no matter where we are.

For the first 20 years of my career, I was no different to many of you reading this right now. I was assigned my own desk/office that I sat at day in and day out, being all productive and efficient with everything in its place — such as photos of the family, internal awards and weird purchases of cultural significance from my last holiday thinking, this is the life. The first in the office each morning, and last to leave each afternoon was widely considered to be the hardest working and most productive. Old school :)
But now, as technology progresses and the diversity of generations — from Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y, Z and now millennials enter the workforce (and my team) oh how things have changed! And, these changes have not just allowed me to reflect on my style and adapt, but forced me to.

To be fully impactful within my role, I need to be able to not only provide the flexibility within my team’s day-to-day roles, but also mine — so that I can obtain both effectiveness for my team, but also work-life balance around my family. To achieve this not only do I need the right tools, but also a progressive mindset.

A true modern workplace is not simply being able to access email from your smartphone or tablet, supplying ping-pong and foosball tables, nor is it providing a hot-desking environment with new-age, ergonomic and architecturally impressive furniture (hello sleep pods). It is meeting your employees’ expectations to provide the effectiveness and efficiencies to be successful, no matter where they are, or what they do.

The payoff? Fundamentally they will be genuinely and actively engaged, with the ability to perform the most simple or complex task no matter where they, which in turn will improve your employee satisfaction and guess what, I’m confident enough to go on record and say that your bottom line will improve too.

Whether you have your own in-house IT team, or you outsource your IT project and managed services, you can be sure that your employees expect that your organisation is embracing a tech solution to provide seamless communications across a multi-device platform. Having the right tools in place (or a tech roadmap to achieve this) is a very important part of reaching this but the most important component, in my opinion, is adopting a progressive mindset and truly adapting to the times. You can have all the tools in the world but if you don’t provide your people with the flexibility to leverage this working environment, you’re only providing half the solution.

If you can get this right, you create a truly modern environment with happy, thriving people — which ultimately pays dividends in increasing productivity, whilst helping you drive digital transformation.