If work and technology trends are any indication of what the future of work looks like, flex work isn’t a question of “if” but “when.” Both technology and the way we work are changing at a rapid pace, and if your company digs their heels into the ground when it comes to flex work, they’re probably not yet up to speed on how business is changing to stay relevant and competitive in the digital landscape.
Productivity, collaboration, and innovation are now top priorities, and companies are rethinking how to achieve them. For one, every worker is slowly gaining the power to set boundaries and voice their work preferences, even if they’re still clocking in at a cubicle.
In a sense, work flexibility is infiltrating the 9-to-5 through changing business attitudes, and your office technology is choosing flex work for you. Here are three examples of how today’s biggest work and technology trends are advancing work flexibility within the traditional workplace.
Choose When You Meet and Work
Today’s user-centric technology helps you control your work schedule even if yours is a traditional 9-to-5. New software and new features, like free/busy polling, give you a bigger voice to choose when you meet.
For example, as opposed to meetings and phone calls, asynchronous collaboration tools like online team workspaces and social media don’t require any instant actions and, instead, empower you to choose when you work on projects or respond to requests. Of course, the most common type of such tool, email, has been around for a while, but only recently are workers starting to use it as a truly asynchronous tool instead of feeling obligated to view, respond, and sort messages right away.
Choose Where You Work in the Office
In pursuit of better productivity and collaboration, offices are commonly creating environments that cater to different workstyles. To balance open offices that encourage collaboration, companies are building semi-enclosed spaces for more intimate teamwork and quiet spaces for individual work.
In some offices, you’ll see standing desks and sofas to suit workers’ varying energy levels, and some companies are nixing assigned desks altogether to change the way they work.
Choose How You Work Through Technology
Workplace technology is only as valuable to companies as the number of workers actually using it, and what many workers want in technology is choice. To meet those expectations, IT teams are putting their ears to the ground to find out what users really want.
To offer more choices, IT is deploying technology bundles instead of single solutions, and organization-wide deployments are growing in popularity so no line of business is left out of the suite of technology options.
Your team may even be getting a slice of the company’s IT budget to fund your own tech solutions. In fact, with a Google search and a cloud-based solution, you no longer need IT to research, install, or maintain new software. That’s why companies are quickly adopting BYOD and BYOA policies, so you’re no longer restricted to using office-assigned devices and apps.
These work and technology trends are tiny signs that work flexibility is trickling into the workplace, as well as indications that the way we work will continue progressing towards increased flexibility. After all, what is user empowerment but work flexibility by another name? Work flexibility is simply the ability to choose when, where, and how you work.
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