Five Myths of the Modern Workplace

Dramatic changes in the workplace have sparked more trepidation among organisations about how smart working technologies can benefit their organisation and not adversely impact performance. It’s time to debunk some of the most common misperceptions and embrace the modern workplace.

Collaboration tools aren’t as effective as face-to-face meetings
Tools like video-conferencing and desktop-sharing encourage a more collaborative workplace. Large, complex documents can be worked on together by a dispersed team. Employees can log in to virtual meetings any time, and recorded meetings mean absentees don’t miss out on important decisions. And by reducing physical meetings, organisations can make considerable savings on travel and time. With 140 video endpoints in place – including Prison Service, Court Service, Probation Board, Forensic Science and the Youth Justice Agency –the Department of Justice NI can cut down travel costs for team meetings across disperse locations. Court sessions are also carried out between the prisons and the courtrooms, not only saving on costs of transport, but reducing associated security risks.

Social technologies decrease staff productivity
Organisations that implement social technologies for employee interaction can increase productivity of high-skilled workers by 20–25% (McKinsey Global Institute, 2012). According to Deloitte, digital collaboration tools such as virtual meetings over video, enterprise social networks and IM allow for a higher frequency of shorter but more engaging contact. In fact, IMs are set to overtake email to become the most popular digital communication channel, according to a new report from Juniper Research, claiming that ‘enterprise messaging’ will “continue to see growth and development at least in the short-term, as it allows almost guaranteed and secure delivery of messages”.

Wifi struggles with performance, security and reliability
It’s now a fact that wireless is as fast as cable and by 2019, when the next version of WiFi protocol standards are set to be ratified, WiFi will reach speeds more than 10gbps. With self-defending networks, every device on the network is security-aware and can automatically react to relevant data, initiate a response and prevent threats. Advances in WiFi deliver the chance for better collaboration and for a more efficient workforce where staff can work, connected wirelessly, from any office location.

Remote workers don’t get as much done as those in the office
Organisations may think that because remote or home workers aren’t based in the office and being directly supervised that their productivity wanes. However, according to Cisco, it has seen significant productivity gains: remote workers are 5% more productive than office-based employees. Research into remote working across the UK’s public sector by Dods Research, shows that 65% of people said they are more effective when they’re able to work from home or on the move.

Flexible working practices suit employees, but not the organisation
Workers of today expect to be able to work on their terms: at non-traditional hours, from non-traditional workplaces like cafes, and with access to collaborative tools. Yes, flexibility fits in with employees’ personal working styles but it also allows organisations to respond to fluctuations in workload. With citizens demanding 24/7 access, organisations who can maximise the flexibility of their employees can fill in gaps and provide a more dynamic service. What’s more, the war for talent will be won by those that allow employees to work productively and flexibly. It’s the organisation that wins.