As the nature of work – and the makeup of the workforce – changes Forrester believes that the employee experience is essential to attract and retain the best people. Central to that experience are stylish devices with consumer-oriented features that make a statement. But while making it fun and productive to work anywhere and everywhere this new experience has also to be designed for business buyers who expect corporate-grade security, reliability and support features.
Pick your analogy. A plumber’s spanner. A hairdresser’s shears. A golfer’s putter. And so on. Surely, it’s common sense that we perform better with the right tools?
In the age of the knowledge worker, those tools are digital devices. Laptops, tablets, phones and everything in between. It follows that if your people don’t have the right devices for the way they work, they won’t perform to their full productive potential.
There is, of course, research to confirm this logical inference. Techaisle.com reports that 60% of SMB decision-makers believe that the right technology “improves employee productivity”. And there’s a still more telling figure: 62% see improved workflow, better communication and improvements to internal operations as key benefits of business mobility technology.
Beyond the logic and the hard facts – well, statistics – there are more subtle and perhaps more compelling forces at work. Chief among these is the rise of a generation for whom mobile technology is an instinctive extension of their daily lives. At the same time, those daily lives are becoming increasingly itinerant, with travel as a potent status symbol among young people who rate experiences above designer clothing or gas-guzzling cars.
These real-world phenomena have moved into the commercial world with the rise of employee experience as a business discipline. Flexible working, a choice of technology, policies and security that allow freedom of movement – all these trends are symptomatic of a profound change in attitudes and expectations. They have transformed society and are inevitably and irresistibly transforming the workplace.
Manpower Group research into millennial career expectations even suggests that companies that prioritise employee experience are likely to be four times more profitable than those that are slower to respond to the demands of the new generation.
Mobility is one of the most visible manifestations of this cultural shift. There’s a strong nomadic streak in a great many human beings and you can see evidence for it in most coffee shops on any day of the working week. Even if they’re officially in the office, with no clients to meet, people will take the opportunity afforded by liberal-minded corporate cultures and secure technologies to work wherever they are comfortable.
With this change in working practice has come a rapid evolution of technologies. Devices themselves are as nomadic as their owners, designed for a mobile-first way of life and a user-centred experience.
Lenovo ThinkBook is one of the latest examples of a business tool that blurs the line between the corporate world and personal expectations. It’s thin, slim and stylish, while optimising speed and connectivity.
The user experience goes right down to the fine detail, with fingerprint recognition built into the power button and almost instant waking from standby. And it’s backed by support and ThinkShield security capabilities that are as flexible as the policies that allow people to work wherever they can be most productive.
Millennials and the generation coming after them sometimes get a bad press. Their unwillingness to follow long-established ways of working is portrayed as weakness or lack of motivation.
It’s not an attitude that companies with plans for profitable growth should endorse. Every day sees new evidence pointing a future where people have the freedom to work where and how they like, with productivity soaring and innovation flowing across the organization.
Instead of writing off the generations to come, we need to remember what the generations before thought of us – and how things turned out. Maybe we could be the first generation to learn from its children.