Study: Millennials, contractors are changing the definition of 'workplace'
- In a new report by Intermedia, 71% of professionals surveyed said mobile apps give them timely updates, allowing them peace of mind, and 66% said apps help them work more efficiently. The cloud communications and collaboration firm said that with millennials being the largest segment of the workforce and contract or gig workers expanding their numbers, the definition of "workplace" and how a "workday" shapes up is shifting, prompting employers to examine the use of technological tools for a workforce that's more productive, collaborative and accessible.
- The report, 2018 Workplace Communications Report, showed that slightly more than half of U.S. professionals polled begin their workday by checking their work emails, calls and other messages. Among the employees starting their workday during their commutes, 19% said this allows them to start their day "on the right foot," and 39% said that work completed during their commutes lets them spend less time in the office.
- In the report's other findings, 75% of organizational leaders said their work-related travels have been reduced because of more video conferencing capabilities, and 59% of knowledge workers said they prefer video conferencing over work travel.
It follows that the expediency tech tools give users in their personal lives would also allow them the same level of efficiency in their work lives. That's likely one reason many employees use their personal devices for work-related duties when given the opportunity.
But employers may not be prepared for what this unprecedented level of agility means for the workforce, and may not have policies in place to accommodate it just yet. Remote work policies, for example, have been slow to catch up to the swift pace at which employees are beginning to work from home. According to an Upwork survey, nearly two-thirds of companies have employees who work remote, but over half of employers do not have a policy in place.
And while technology has revolutionized the way the workplace functions, it has enabled workers to stay plugged into the workplace 24/7 — for good and for ill. Employers that imply, or openly state, that workers should be accessible around the clock may accidentally fuse the lines between work and home and instill burn out. In a 2017 RAND Corporation study, more than half of employees report working on job-related tasks during their off hours. Such scenarios can create stressful situations for workers, often leading to chronic health problems, absenteeism and productivity. HR managers can help workers find balance between work and personal time, encourage them to take sufficient time off, and possibly limit the hours they can connect to the office.