Embracing DEX: Bridging generational divides for a modern workplace

Johannesburg, 01 Jun 2023

In an era where employees crave flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere, many companies find themselves ill-prepared to meet these demands. However, a recent study conducted by Ivanti sheds light on untapped opportunities and the steps organisations must take to embrace the future of work in 2023 and beyond. With a focus on technology, culture and mindset, businesses can elevate their workforce's potential and secure their position in the evolving landscape of remote collaboration.

The burnout dilemma: According to Ivanti's research, burnout and disengagement among knowledge workers, especially younger employees, are on the rise. Shockingly, nearly one in three office workers under 40 admits to "quiet quitting", indicating a significant lack of motivation and commitment. Gallup's global survey further confirms this trend, revealing historically low levels of employee engagement worldwide. These statistics highlight the urgent need for organisations to address mental health and quality-of-life issues as they shape their future workplace strategies.

The shift in work culture: Employees are actively seeking new ways of working that prioritise personal time, minimise lengthy commutes and mitigate negative impacts on health and well-being. Yet, many organisations remain cautious and hesitant, treating remote work as a temporary experiment. McKinsey & Company highlights the mismatch between the demand for talent and the number of workers willing to supply it. This reevaluation of priorities by employees presents an opportunity for forward-thinking companies to become desirable destinations for top talent.

The desire for hybrid work: This research emphasises the universal desire for flexibility in terms of time and location, extending beyond top executives to all office workers. While more than half of surveyed employees currently have the option to work fully remote or hybrid, a significant preference gap exists. Companies that fail to bridge this gap risk losing out on attracting and retaining valuable talent, particularly in hard-to-hire positions. Additionally, employees' frustration with outdated tools and technology further contributes to job dissatisfaction and potential turnover.

Embracing an everywhere work mindset: To succeed in the future of work, organisations must shift their mindset from a reactive approach to a proactive one. Rather than focusing on where employees should work, companies should prioritise providing the necessary tools, training and technology to facilitate effective remote collaboration. The adoption of an organisation-wide service management approach, supported by automation and streamlined workflows, enables seamless communication and boosts productivity across teams, regardless of location.

Addressing security challenges: As remote work becomes more prevalent, organisations face heightened security risks. Unauthorised device access, shadow IT and asset loss are concerns that need immediate attention. Employers must invest in risk-based remediation strategies and involve the line of business in security control discussions to maintain productivity. Furthermore, ensuring that remote workers understand and adhere to relevant security measures is crucial for safeguarding sensitive data.

Mitigating IT burnout: The shift to hybrid and remote work has significantly increased the workload for IT and security professionals. Managing a diverse range of tools, platforms and licences can create complexity and inefficiency. To address this, organisations must simplify their tech stacks and workflows, reducing the burden on IT teams and preventing burnout. Embracing innovative technologies, such as dynamic collaboration tools and workflow automation, empowers employees to be efficient, regardless of their location.

Closing the preference gap: While a majority of office workers express a desire for hybrid or remote work options, the current reality falls short of expectations. Many organisations still struggle to fully embrace the potential of remote collaboration, hindering their ability to attract and retain top talent. To bridge the preference gap and create a thriving everywhere work culture, companies should consider the following strategies:

1. Flexible work policies: Adopting flexible work policies that accommodate various work styles and personal circumstances is crucial. Implementing hybrid work models that allow employees to choose when and where they work can foster a healthy work-life balance and increase job satisfaction. It is essential to establish clear guidelines and expectations to maintain team collaboration and accountability.

2. Technology enablement: Providing employees with the right technology tools and infrastructure is vital for successful remote collaboration. Investing in solutions that place an importance on the digital employee experience is critical to ensure smooth communication and seamless collaboration across geographically dispersed teams. Additionally, companies should prioritise cyber security measures to protect sensitive data in a remote work environment.

3. Training and upskilling: To maximise the potential of remote collaboration, organisations should offer training and upskilling opportunities to employees. Remote work requires a different skill set, including effective communication, virtual collaboration and self-motivation. Providing resources and support to enhance these skills can help employees thrive in a remote or hybrid work environment.

4. Culture of trust and communication: Building a culture of trust and open communication is essential for remote collaboration to flourish. Regular check-ins, team meetings and virtual social activities foster connections and maintain a sense of camaraderie among team members. Employers should encourage transparent communication channels and provide platforms for sharing ideas and feedback.

5. Performance measurement and recognition: Establishing clear performance metrics and regularly evaluating employee performance is crucial in a remote work setting.

Implementing transparent performance measurement systems and recognising and rewarding employees' achievements can motivate remote workers and create a sense of accomplishment. Regular feedback and performance discussions help employees align their goals with the organisation's objectives.

6. Continuous improvement and adaptation: Embracing remote collaboration requires an ongoing commitment to learning and adapting. Organisations should regularly assess their remote work policies, technology infrastructure and employee feedback to identify areas for improvement. By embracing a growth mindset and remaining open to innovation and change, companies can optimise their remote collaboration practices.

The future of work is evolving and remote collaboration is becoming increasingly important for organisations to thrive. Embracing an everywhere work mindset, implementing the right solutions for your business, addressing security challenges, mitigating IT burnout and closing the preference gap are key steps for unleashing the potential of remote collaboration. By adopting flexible work policies, leveraging technology, fostering a culture of trust and communication and continuously improving practices, businesses can unlock the benefits of remote work.

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