Businesses risk missing out on the next pool of talent if they continue to use old school technology, says Mary Ann de Lares Norris is VP EMEA of Oblong Industries
Just when you thought you had a handle on Millennials, along comes Generation Z, the first truly digital native generation, to start shaking up the workplace afresh. Gen Zers, born between the mid 1990s and up to early 2000s, are the fresh, junior candidates knocking on the doors of the global workforce. It’s vital for businesses to consider how to address Gen Zers and the tools required to enable this new generation to thrive. Certainly, the key to harnessing the potential of Gen Z, who have never experienced a time without internet, is technology.
“A study by Goldman Sachs found almost half of Gen Zers are connected online for more than ten hours a day”
Gen Zers are tech fluent, they are used to consuming and sharing information instantly and enjoying social interaction at their fingertips; a study by Goldman Sachs found that almost half of Gen Zers are connected online for more than ten hours a day. Understandably, they expect immediate gratification to satisfy their requirements and to lead them onto the next thing.
To succeed with Gen Z, businesses need to offer the very best technology that fits with their preferred ways of working. As a generation raised in a time of smart phones and connectivity, organisations that offer more in the workplace than can be found on your average smart phone will have greatest appeal. Immersive environments, pixel-rich workspaces, and AI utilities will satisfy the urge for collaborative work styles and easy access to essential data. Gen Zers want to showcase, and be merited for, their individual talents. This new generation aims high; they want to be winners and progress quickly. So, how can workplace technology simultaneously satisfy a need for independence and inclusivity?
A workforce that doesn’t stand still is, of course, great news in terms of driving economic growth and productivity, and businesses need to embrace technology that supports this momentum. AV professionals are pivotal to the implementation of pixel-rich workplace and the communications tools that facilitate informed and faster decision – making. As an industry we must ensure that AV/IT systems not only enable this accelerated approach to working, but are sufficiently future-proofed so that as technology develops and ways of working continue to evolve, the AV and IT systems are not restricting this development but are instead enhancing it.
“The traditional meeting room with one large screen to see a presentation is clearly outdated”
Gen Zers need frequent, even daily, mentoring to keep them motivated and to satisfy their need for continuous progression. Therefore, businesses must make connectivity is a top priority. As flexible working becomes more commonplace and employees are ever more distributed, communication streams must be seamless from both inside and outside the office. Instant connectivity means the workforce is breaking through the confines of traditional office environments, using technology that allows them to connect to systems, colleagues, mentors, and information from anywhere in the workplace or anywhere in the world.
So how does workplace technology need to change to engage Generation Z?
Firstly the traditional meeting, consisting of all attendees gathering in one room with one large screen to see a presentation (and then respond later with deliverables) is clearly outdated. Gen Zers operate within their own devices, bringing laptops, tablets and smartphones to meetings and to reference work in real time; with the right technology they can share instantly and simultaneously the content locked in those mobile devices across multiple wall surfaces for everyone to see.
Video-teleconferencing and document sharing technologies are already offering room-to-room and peer-to-peer connections between locations but the most sophisticated and productive solutions provide participants with simultaneous access and control to a united workspace, regardless of their location – thereby creating a much more inclusive workspace for sharing independent ideas. Secondly, enterprises need workplace collaboration systems that are device agnostic, enabling streams from a wide range of connected devices regardless of operating system, location, or type.
Whiteboard, internet, laptops, databank – all of these need to come together side by side to remove barriers to productivity and engagement. For meetings to really engage Gen Z, workplace infrastructure must empower participants to share their work and ideas instantly to accelerate decision-making by bringing all factors into a common view.
Enjoying this content?