In 2007, PricewaterhouseCoopers made a projection about the future – large corporations will have gone green; technology will pervade every single business and leisure activity; lines between on-site and off-site employees will be blurred to the point of non-existent. Now eight years out from the initial report and five years from its target date of 2020, it’s looking more and more everyday like the these projections are not only going to be met, but surpassed. The question is what’s driving these changes? Why is technology pervading everything, from businesses down to personal health?
Certainly, technology plays a direct role in these changes as we find cheaper, faster, better ways of doing things, but what about the people using the technology? How do they impact the future? By 2020, Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) will represent over 50% of the global workforce. As Baby Boomers (born between 1948 and 1964) begin to retire in literal droves (10,000/day estimated), businesses are beginning to feel the pain of losing skilled workers with years of experience.
As Millennials move in to fill these gaps in the workforce, they are bringing with them their knowledge and expectations of a technological world. For the Baby Boomers and Generation Y, this almost inherit ability to seamlessly use technology in the workplace is setting Millennials apart, placing them in roles where they know how to use business tools better than their seniors. On the opposite side, Millennials are expecting the management style and corporate culture to reflect their technological lives as well, with rapid progression, constant feedback and interesting, varied career paths.
So what does this mean for businesses right now? Over 85% of millennials own a smartphone, and 75% of them believe that access to technology makes them more effective in the workplace. Technology is pushing the boundaries of work and personal life to the breaking point, with many people bringing their own device (BYOD) to the office and using it for work-related purposes. Over 41% of Millennials prefer electronic communication to phone or face-to-face meetings. It’s a digital age, and the future workforce is driving it that direction. Businesses will need to adapt, and they already are.
The figures will vary depending on where you look, but approximately 80% of businesses are on Facebook, and 77% are on Twitter. Unified Communication applications such as Skype or Slack are becoming the norm over more traditional forms of communication like phones and even emails. Everything is about agility and simplicity, communicating quickly, efficiently, and with as little “time wasted” as possible. As Millennials continue to dominate the workforce and personal devices become more and more prevalent in the workplace, we’ll continue to see a rise in unified messaging across all devices (personal or otherwise), video chat, presence, and collaborative applications.
Technology is changing not only the way we do business, but the world, and leading the change are Millennials. As time goes on, we’ll continue to see an increase in technology and the way we use it, both in the workplace and outside of, and how the lines between the two will continue to blur and reshape into the way Millennials use technology.
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