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Challenges of the Modern Workplace

The need to enhance employee productivity is an aspect no business should ignore. In the modern workplace, evolving technologies presents a massive opportunity for a more fluid work environment, transforming what productivity looks like, and empowering employees to work smarter.

According to a recent study by Avanade, many business players see potential disadvantages of failure to modernize the workplace. About 80% believe that the lack of upgrading IT systems hurts the long-term growth of an organization. Similarly, more than 85% of IT experts believe that workplace modernization is key to attracting and retaining employees in any organization.

The workplace continues to evolve with modern tools to meet the needs of both employees and employers. But this comes with its share of challenges. Let’s explore some of them.

Challenges of the Modern Workplace

A changing workforce, productivity, money, and reliance on mobile devices are among the major issues practically every employer encounter. The magnitude of these issues depends on how receptive the employer is to change and whether they’re open to new ideas to resolve some of these challenges. Here is a more in-depth look at some key problems present in the modern workplace.

Freelance and remote workers

The existence of mobile devices and Wi-Fi have made it possible for workers to complete tasks outside the traditional office. In the process of growth, companies add independent contractors, freelancers, and full-time workers to their workforce. A report from International Data Corporation (IDC) indicates that mobile workers will account for about three-quarters (72.3%) of the entire U.S. workforce by 2020. This a huge increase so we expect to see more changes on the way.

Working remotely has enormous benefits as it introduces a more flexible schedule for employees. But it poses a significant challenge of managing these employees because of the distance.

Managers realize that managing remote workers requires a new approach. It’s hard to manage workers who aren’t physically on-premises which means they have to take extra time to learn more about each one of them. The main aim of making it work is to ensure there is a cohesive working relationship that keeps both the employers and employees happy.

Workload management

When it comes to service delivery, many people work for a lot of hours. Among the industrialized countries, the U.S. tops in terms of the number of hours worked annually. It’s estimated that an average employee in America works 1800 hours per year -that’s 400 more hours than a Norwegian worker. This can be attributed to the fact that U.S. workers are required to more than employees in other nations. Their heavy workload is likely to contribute to their lousy time management skills.

When an employee has so much on their plate, it becomes hard to confine everything in the normal eight-hour workday. It is even worse for a worker who is settling into a new job and trying to adjust to their new responsibilities.

Adoption of productivity tools that helps in automation of most tasks can help reduce the workload and improve efficiency.

Files management

Companies are gathering more data and information from customers than ever. According to IDC, by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of data will be gathered for every individual on earth. As this continues to accumulate, companies need additional places to store it. The amount of content being created is so massive that it is at a point where humans on their own cannot process any more. This translate to the problem of file management in the workplace.

The common challenges that this trend present to the company include declined productivity and compromised security. For the workforce, it becomes hard to find the right document, edit the correct version, and avoid sharing the wrong file.

An IDC study shows that file management problems are robbing companies 21.3% of their overall productivity. Similarly, documents floating around either in paper or digital format create a huge risk for an organization’s sensitive information. Companies must work on improving document management process and how documents are shared and stored through technology adoption, training, and process re-evaluation.

24/7 workers’ connectivity across all devices

Technology has become an inescapable aspect for most workplaces, and it’s important to understand its impact on employees. It’s no doubt that communication technology including social practices built around it, facilitates a 24/7 lifestyle. But, as much as technology has improved the way we do things in workplaces, we cannot ignore its effect on employee’s health and sanity, especially when we consider their role in the workplace.

There is an established line of research that shows some form of stressful work setting which includes high levels of interruptions, an ever-increasing work pace, and multitasking. The increased speed of work can reduce workers flexibility to deal with shifting demands, which is what leads to a problematic workplace setting for employees. Interruptions, on the other hand, are not always bad, but a major concern is the worker’s ability to control them.

Despite these challenges, technology use can help employees connect to personal networks in a way that facilitates higher levels of support. Although the extent of technology use may contribute to a more stressful work environment, it’s effect can be minimal across a large group of employees.

Resistance to the adoption of advanced tools

Digital tools are advancing at a lightning pace, and your employees can benefit from learning how to use the latest updates. Whether they are tools or skills, it is essential for companies to adopt new tools to improve efficiency and increase productivity.

However, gaining acceptance of change at employee level can be a challenge as can the whole idea of managing it. The introduction of new tools can cause disruptions in behaviour patterns that can lead to the replacement of conventional social structures, loss of continuity, and familial relationships. Adopting new technology can mean changes to job responsibilities, additional workload, and extra training. These changes can also impact an organization’s politics where those who possess specific skills may see it as a threat to their positions.

As such, proper preparation and training is required to ensure there is a smooth transition to modern technology. Companies can spend time creating a clear plan for the implementation of advanced tools to achieve success.

Wrapping Up

Becoming a modern workplace with a motivated team is not hard to achieve. The secret is to invest in your staff and the technology they use. These and other tips on this guide will help you transition into a more flexible work environment.