Mary Ann de Lares Norris, VP EMEA of Oblong Industries Inc, specialist in AV IT interactive solutions, looks at how to provide the most effective environment for Millennials to deliver maximum productivity.
Millennials, Generation Y, The Digital Generation, call them whatever you wish, but ignore them at your peril. In a recent report from PwC, it was revealed that by 2020 Millennials (adults aged between 18 and 34) will have overtaken all other generations to make up 50% of the global workforce. The potential of Millennials must be harnessed to drive global productivity and economic growth, so integrators must consider carefully how they can provide the technology that enables businesses to do so.
Millennials are a collaborative, social, mobile and tech-savvy group who consume and share information instantly, enjoying social interaction at their fingertips and connecting with previously inaccessible brands, companies and individuals from the palm of their hand. Raised in the digital age, Millennials anticipate instant connectivity, mobile interaction and seamless, collaborative technology as standard in their working environment.
Integrators are crucial to the implementation of this more mobile, connected way of working. As an industry, we must ensure that AV/IT systems not only enable this collaborative approach to working, but are sufficiently future-proofed so that as technology develops and ways of working continue to evolve, the AV and IT systems are not restricting this development but are instead enhancing it.
While Generation Xers are frequently comfortable being presented to, most Millennials want to participate in and drive the discussion, solving problems collaboratively as a team and without the burden and barriers of a formally structured meeting. Integrators must ensure connectivity is a top priority.
As flexible working becomes more commonplace and staff are ever more distributed, integrators must ensure that communication is seamless. Instant connectivity means the workforce is breaking through the confines of traditional office environments, using technology that allows them to connect to systems, colleagues and information from anywhere in the workplace or anywhere in the world.
So how does workplace collaboration technology need to change to engage Millennials?
Firstly, the traditional meeting, consisting of all attendees gathering in one room with one large screen to see a presentation (and then respond later with deliverables) is clearly outdated. Millennials are bringing laptops, tablets and smartphones to meetings to take notes (or videos) and to reference work in real-time. With the right technology, they can share instantly and simultaneously the content locked in those mobile devices across all the walls for everyone to see.
Video-teleconferencing and document sharing technologies are already offering room-to-room and peer-to-peer connections across locations, but the most sophisticated and productive solutions provide participants with simultaneous access and control to a united workspace, regardless of their location, thereby creating a much more engaging, enlightening and immersive workspace.
These advanced collaboration technologies will undoubtedly begin to form the centrepiece of the office of the future. It is the responsibility of AV consultants, installers and integrators, as the experts, to embrace the latest technological developments and educate their clients about the possibilities that this technology can bring. By offering a more advanced collaboration solution that can really generate significant business benefits, installers can position their advice, their business and their reputation in exactly the right place to deal with their customers.
Secondly, integrators need to develop workplace collaboration systems that are device agnostic, enabling streams from a wide range of connected devices regardless of operating system, location, or type. Whiteboard, Internet, laptops, databank, all of these need to come together simultaneously and side by side to remove barriers to productivity and engagement.
For meetings to really engage the Millennial generation, workplace infrastructure must empower meeting participants to share their work and ideas instantly to accelerate decision-making by bringing all factors into a common view.
Finally, but arguably most importantly, the experience needs to be exhilarating. Workplace collaboration technology needs to be immersive, fast, visually beautiful, innovative, adaptive and future-proof. With the huge advances in visual collaboration and the emergence of Info-presence (the flexible flow of content and data from multiple sources across multiple screens and connected locations on demand), meeting with colleagues can be an exciting, dynamic experience.
Through the deployment of visual collaboration technology such as Oblong’s Mezzanine, integrators can create genuinely engaging workplace environments that appeal to the Millennials. The reign of the ‘bored room’ will soon be at an end.
Infopresence Maximizes Millennial Engagement
Info-presence is the experience of being immersed with your work group’s vital content and data, for those present in the room and also those in distributed locations. It can transform the workplace from a rigid and structured environment to an immersive, three-dimensional workplace that complements the intelligence, aspirations, and collaborative tendencies of Millennials.
Oblong’s Mezzanine is delivering Info-presence in a variety of organisations across the globe. The Mezzanine system helps maximise Millennial interest and retention, keeping them connected. Info-presence provides a deeper connection to information, immersing groups in a radically new relationship with their data facilitates the visualisation and absorption of data, engaging teams more easily, quickly and effectively.
Infopresence provides a deeper connection to peers
- Bridges geographical space and concentrates dispersed stakeholders in a single locale to promote maximum collective engagement with essential collaborators.
- Parallel, real-time working processes enable group members to discover immediate feedback and revision potential, promoting faster insight recognition.
- Millennials excel at getting the most out of technology; Info-presence maximizes the human cognitive capacities that promote group engagement, creativity, and problem-solving.
- Info-presence is democratic by nature—giving everyone participating in the work session a ‘voice at the table’. Having a voice or say in business outcomes is key to retention of Millennial staff and thus a strategic imperative for today’s businesses.
Integrators that can provide experiences such as Info-presence in the workplace can give their clients a significant competitive advantage by stimulating feelings of engagement and purpose that will attract and retain the talent rapidly defining the 21st century workplace.