Kiwi businesses will need an urgent technology upgrade to accommodate an increase in millennial workers wanting more workplace flexibility, according to a local tech CEO.
Michael Russell, CEO of IT solutions company Origin, says research shows the demographics of the New Zealand workforce are rapidly evolving, and by 2020 almost half of all employees will be millennials - those who have grown up with the internet.
“This group expect to be mobile and able to work from anywhere at anytime,” Russell says.
“Recent studies have shown a third of millennials put more value on social media freedom, device flexibility and work mobility than on salary.
“That means the kind of technological flexibility a company offers in the future may be more important than the remuneration package for many people.
“Having grown up in such a connected world, the millennial generation are used to staying in touch online at all times, which means many Kiwi companies may find themselves needing to address the ways they use technology in their business.”
Russell says the group are less likely to listen to voicemail messages, and expect to be able to use online social collaboration tools to communicate with colleagues.
One of the most significant changes may be to the standard office equipment of a desktop computer system, according to Russell.
“Millennials like to have the flexibility to work from wherever suits, and access content from multiple devices such as iPads and smartphones, which means low-cost laptops that store data on the cloud will suit them better than a full desktop set-up that ties them to a certain location,” he adds.
“It may also mean ensuring staff can print direct to the office printer via their smartphone, and adopting mobile apps into work processes.
“For example, giving employees the option to track time spent on projects on their phone so they can log tasks performed outside of standard business hours.”
Most companies in New Zealand had made steps toward greater flexibility, but Russell says many will need to make comprehensive changes to enable mobile workers to access data easily from multiple devices, while ensuring a high level of security is maintained.
With three-quarters of the workforce predicted to be millennial by 2025, Russell says those companies who evolve the quickest when it comes to technology in the workplace are more likely to attract and retain quality staff.