The millennial generation, which consists of those born between 1980 and 2000, are beginning to enter the workforce in great numbers. There’s no question that those belonging to the millennial generation are poised to shape the business world into the far-seen future, just as the generations that came before them have.
With such a vast number of millennials entering and subsequently influencing the workforce, many organizations understand that attracting the best talent is an important step in preparing for its future. However, the millennial generation isn’t concerned with the same things as the generations that preceded them, and businesses are beginning to realize that in order to recruit the very best, some changes are going to need to be made.
One of the markedly different characteristics of the millennial workforce is their relationship with technology. Unlike other generations, millennials have grown up with new tech and have an intimate relationship with and knowledge of how the digital world works. This sets millennials apart from their more senior counterparts because they are entering the business world with a better understanding of how to use the tools that many organizations consider essential to its operations.
This close relationship with technology doesn’t just reflect their ability to use these tools but has influenced millennials’ behaviors and expectations. Having grown up with fast Internet speeds, mobile devices such as smartphones and laptops, and the availability of accessing information at a moment’s notice, millennials expect their employer to incorporate technology in such a way that aligns with the ways they’re already using it.
Technologies such as VoIP, the cloud and other UC assets allow businesses to cater to this young generation of workers and meet their expectations, specifically in these two areas.
The evolution of mobile technology has forever changed the way we access information. Smartphones today have greater computing power than the most powerful machines ten years ago, and widespread cellular and Wi-Fi networks allow us to connect with one another in more ways than ever before.
A consequence of this generation’s growth with such technology is that communicating digitally has become the preference for many. In fact a report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, titled Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace, found that 41 percent of millennials prefer to communicate electronically at work than face to face or even over the telephone. This is a result of technology dominating essentially every aspect of millennials’ lives today; a fact that has created some intergenerational conflict in the workplace as many millennials find themselves being held back by outdated working styles.
So it’s no wonder that VoIP has risen as the go-to business communication solution for many organizations today. Voice over IP enables organizations to communicate digitally and opens up a number of alternative ways to collaborate, including video conferencing and instant messaging options. This technology is inherently simple to use and has the potential to enhance the productivity of workers by making communication seamless and effective.
However, the most powerful influencer of VoIP technology may not be in how we communicate in the workplace, but rather the flexibility it allows remotely.
Flexibility and the “Work-Me” Balance
There have been numerous studies that show just how important a company’s culture and openness to a healthy work-life balance is to the millennial generation of workers. However, clearly identifying what a work-life balance means can be a challenge because it changes depending on whom you ask. Henrik Bresman, in his piece What Millennials Want from Work, Charted Across the World for Harvard Business Review, tells us that the difference between Gen X-ers and millennials is the latter strive for a work-me balance, not a work-family balance.
In this HBR study, they found that the most prominent definition of a work-life balance definition for millennials was “enough leisure time for my private life” at 57 percent, followed by closely by 45 percent of respondents answering in favor of “flexible work hours.” In association with their affinity to technology, millennials have taken notice of how some corporations are using it to increase employees’ work-life balance by allowing them to work remotely.
The ability to work remotely is immensely attractive to millennials because it allows them to work in an environment they’re most comfortable with, thus increasing their productivity and overall quality of work. For some this may be a traditional office environment, but for many it’s working from the comfort of their home.
This level of flexibility wasn’t possible in the past for two reasons; firstly, the use of technology wasn’t as widespread in the business world as it has become today, and also because the ability to collaborate and communicate seamlessly simply didn’t exist. With the emergence of VoIP and mobile apps that accompany it, workers today are able to communicate just as well as if they were at the office, meaning there’s less of a reason for employers to require their employees to commute to work. Overall, VoIP technology has advanced to such a point in modern times that employees can be productive whether they’re in the office or working from home in their pajamas.
VoIP: A Win-Win
Both employers and their employees are reaping the benefits of VoIP these days. Not only does it allow organizations to provide their millennial workforce the tools and level of freedom they seek, but it has other advantages as well – such as reducing the overhead costs of purchasing hardware by enabling workers to use their own devices, amongst others.
To learn more about VoIP and how ESI can help you, check out our website www.esi-estech.com