2020 Predictions: Millennials and Digital Natives to Drive Changes Within the Workplace and The Way We Collaborate

By: DT News Network
January, 11, 2020

Authored By Pierre-Jean Chalon, Senior Vice President, APAC Sales, Poly. 

Born between 1979 and 2000, millennials are on track to forming 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. How to attract and retain these talents and enabling them with a suitable working environment are key to maintain the competitiveness of organizations in the market. This development is forcing managers to rethink their workplace design and collaboration arrangement. We see that 2020 is a turning point of this transformation.

Also known as digital natives, millennials grew up with technology right in their hands, which helps them appreciate more and understand how technology can shape the way they work, live and play. However, in the past, corporate culture is top-down and rigid, with mandated working hours, seating arrangements, stipulated lunch breaks – basically the anti-thesis to the new generation of workers that are slowly settling in. It goes without saying that millennials are starkly different from the older generations in what they seek in their job, their work values, and the way they work. There is an urgent need to adopt a bottom-up approach to redesign the future workplace.

It is especially true to Asia Pacific which is home to a large population of young workers and rapid economic growth. The Asia Pacific region is poised to cater to this generation of workers and adapt to the workplace of the future.

I have set out three predictions that will be realized and brought on by the influence and demands of these new generation of workers. 

The first prediction: in 2020, there will be more offices designed on huddle rooms than those based on big board room designs.

According to a recent study titled “Perils of the Open Office”, more than one in two workers prefer open plan offices, with the number increasing steadily with the younger generations. However, the drawback to having an open office is that with wall partitions brought down, ambient noise and distractions in the environment increase.

As a work-around to this, organizations are beginning to see the benefits of installing smaller rooms within the workplace. These huddle rooms accommodate up to six people and when outfitted with the right technology, can spur high energy interactions – perfect for the modern workforce that needs to be agile and highly collaborative.

Aside from offering quiet sanctuary and privacy for workers to remain productive away from distractions, cost-effective collaboration tools can also be installed in these rooms, transforming into mini boardrooms for small group video conferences.

The younger generation’s love for the open office will force the management’s hand to rethink how the modern workplace will look like, and huddle rooms will no longer be a good-to-have but a must-have for organizations no matter what sizes and businesses they are running.

The second prediction: in 2020, gadgetization of communications devices will gain greater traction.

Computer-free, standalone communications devices will emerge in the mainstream market in 2020. The advancement allows users directly interact with gadget-like communications devices, saving time and reducing technical issues.

Today, we live at a time where we have come to expect technology to work fast and efficiently and just the way we want it to. Consider booking a ride on an app and having to wait 5 minutes for the driver to arrive – most of us would much rather cancel it and have the app select a nearer driver that takes half the time to get to us.

This expectation translates in the same manner to the workplace, where digital natives have the expectation for consistent, seamless audio and video experience for video meetings. Easy to use, platform-agnostic, stand-alone communication devices that do not require one to jump through hurdles just to connect to a call will win big and gain rapid adoption in organizations.

At the end of the day, technology should simply work behind the scenes, and need not get in the way of getting things done.

The third and final prediction: in 2020, 4K video conferencing will be the gold standard for businesses looking for long-distance face-time.

It’s always our goal to enable video-conferencing collaborations just like face-to-face meetings, greatly improving user experience, productivity and cost efficiency. While current video conferencing technology has proved to be remarkably effective in connecting people across the globe for simple collaboration purposes, the quality and capabilities of many current solutions still fall short of some expectations, especially for those used to high-speed, high-resolution video in an always-connected age. In 2020, with the commercialization of key technologies such as 5G networks and 4K videos, more users will be able to collaborate more effectively, no matter where they are.

Digital natives live and breathe technology and are usually the first to embrace the possibilities that technology brings. And as we look towards a future workforce that is going to be as dynamic and agile as the many technological developments that break ground every other year, it makes perfect business sense that organizations should be paying greater attention to empowering these future innovators to greater heights.


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