With the new GDPR fast approaching, navigating an increasingly digital world is on everyone’s minds. No less so at work, where the need to be wireless, paperless, and hyper-connected is an ever-present concern for businesses.

Keeping up with – and competing in – a fast changing digital working world can be daunting for well established business owners. Faced with a multi-generational workforce (here’s looking at you, Millennials) and their complex needs, it’s important that employers take the leap towards digitising their processes and investing in the future.

After all, technology isn’t going anywhere – and we’re here to discuss the positive ways in which it’s changing the way we work, and how it can benefit businesses everywhere.

First things first – how is technology really changing the workplace?

70% of us now use a computer daily for work. Beyond this, a recent article for Wired.com states that 61% of companies report that most of their employees are using personal devices at work to carry out their daily tasks. This trend – bring your own device (BYOD) – is becoming increasingly popular as a more flexible alternative to sitting at your desk from 9 to 5.

What can we take from this? It shows that employees are increasingly taking their work into their own hands. They are seeking out the workflows that suit them best; they are finding the most efficient ways to manage their projects, workload, and communicate with their peers outside of traditional IT infrastructures.

Expanding our mediums outside the realm of computers, then, is creating a more flexible, mobile, and collaborative way of structuring our work. With such a focus on flexible and freelance working, hot desking, and shifting office structures, the increased use of personal devices is a gesture towards more elastic work practices.

Opening up communication

Enterprise social media platforms are fast becoming the main method of communication for workplaces all over the world. Based on a traditional Intranet structure, platforms such as Workplace, Asana, and Slack are a secure and interactive way for employees to access information, projects, and tasks in real time whether in the office or on the road.

What’s more, platforms such as these are vastly more democratic than Intranet software. Employees can interact with peers outside their department or team; they can like, comment on, and respond to ideas and conversations as they happen. Inboxes are left uncluttered, convoluted email threads are a thing of the past, no one is left behind.

So going digital is a workplace utopia...

It’s certain that technology is helping – not hindering – the productivity and profitability of businesses. Employees are more satisfied, and companies adopting digital practices and processes are 54% more likely to report increases in profits than those lagging behind.

Of course they are pitfalls to letting workforces bring their own devices to work, and with the GDPR around the corner, breaches in company and personal data are a huge concern. So what is the way forward?

IT teams and management must work together to produce measures to protect and secure information. HR teams should be equipped to consistently assess and safeguard employees against evolving threats posed by malware and ransomware online.

But be assured, the benefits for businesses adopting the digital philosophy outweigh the possible threats. Businesses must be open to these new opportunities, and invest in the future, to see a real return.

Has your office adopted digital practices? We’d love to know, so tweet us @uopoffice with your thoughts on how technology has changed the workplace.

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