Technology is changing our lives at a dizzying pace, both at home and at work. Employees, accustomed to having thousands of movies at their fingertips on Netflix and a Lyft always just a few blocks away, want that same level of responsiveness at work. On the flipside, employers now have a 24/7 direct line to their employees via the phone in their pocket (or more likely in their hand). Today’s on-demand workplace can allow companies to be nimble and responsive to both clients’ and employees’ needs, or it can trip them up and leave them behind in a dusty tangle of obsolete CD-ROMs and rigid 9-to-5 schedules. Meeting the challenge of this brave new on-demand world means embracing the flexibility and personalization that the new digital landscape provides.
Eighty to ninety percent of the U.S. workforce reports wanting to telecommute at least part time, and forty percent more U.S. employers now offer flexible workplace options than they did five years ago. Approximately 3.7 million U.S. workers—2.8% of the country’s workforce—currently work from home at least half the time. With studies showing that employees with flexible schedules report greater job satisfaction and less absenteeism, it benefits both employer and employee to make flexible scheduling and remote work a viable option. Tech solutions now make this easier than ever.
Team collaboration tools like Slack and video-conferencing apps like Zoom bring even the most far-flung remote employees into the daily rhythm of the company, so that people working alone from home or in small groups in satellite offices can connect easily and work efficiently together. Apps like Donut strengthen interpersonal connections between employees regardless of their physical location. Attendancebot makes remote time-tracking easy. Trello facilitates virtual project management. These tech tools, and others like them, make it possible to create a seamless workflow, cohesive company culture, and a sense of community across multiple offices in different cities and time zones. They free you from the constraints of the rigid face-to-face-only, 9-to-5 workplace, and open your company up to a world of possibilities.
Once you’ve got your employees connected, tech also provides the means to support them. The on-demand workplace gives you the tools to meet your employees’ individual needs in real-time. From telehealth solutions that let them connect with healthcare providers when and where they need them, to wellness apps that remind them to get up and take a walk, guide them through some stretches at their desk, or give them a few minutes of downtime through a mindfulness program, tech can play a big role in promoting wellness and balance at work.
Tech also informs the way that employees access internal information and services. Look to apps that make your workplace as fast and responsive as that streaming service you used for binge-watching last weekend. (It’s okay. We all do it.) atSpoke compiled data gathered from hundreds of diverse organizations over a twelve-month period and found that 29% of all employee requests are repetitive, and 15% are identical word-for-word. Limited to just HR requests, the number rises to a full 49% of requests being repetitive.
Technology is often blamed for isolating us, but it also provides us with excellent tools for connecting with each other, making it easier to communicate and work together. The right workplace apps will help you to create a more responsive, connected, productive working environment.