The miracle of working today is that you’re just as likely to be reading this from your company office as from your home, the beach or in the air. And it all can be on the company’s time and dime.
A 2017 study found that about 3 percent of Americans worked from home at least half of the time, with the trend most common among baby boomers, and that’s just one of the big ways in which the world of work has changed recently. It can get confusing and a bit surprising for companies trying to adapt to what workers want.
Tim Minahan, chief marketing officer at Citrix, is here to help us figure it out on this week’s episode of #WorkTrends. Minahan knows a thing or two about how the way people work is changing. Together we looked at some of the major trends affecting the skills companies need, the places where employees work and how technology can help or get in the way of accomplishing our goals.
Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.
Skills: Addressing the Digital Gap
The biggest skill set change we discussed is also the one that’s most common in our daily lives: digital technology. For the average worker it means learning more systems and tools. For the company it involves training and hiring to ensure everyone has the tools and skills they need.
“There was a recent Harris poll that I thought was particularly telling where they surveyed about 1,500 CEOs around the globe,” Minahan says. “The number one barrier to growth that CEOs identified was not just access to talent but, interestingly enough, access to developer talent. And … if every business is becoming a digital business, then of course developer talent is at a premium.”
He points to this as one of the biggest aspects of the talent crisis. Solving it not only requires embracing the many different places we work but also ensuring that people can collaborate in successful ways. Companies should look for ways to help employees be more productive, without burdening them with more requirements.
Space: Work Is ‘Wherever You Need It’
Thinking about the places we work provides one clear revelation: There’s no such thing as a typical day anymore. More people are working from multiple locations, whether that’s at HQ or in a home office, reading at the gym or catching up on email during a commute. Planes, trains and automobiles all play a role in our daily work lives.
“It seems every week is an illustration of that distributed work style,” says Minahan, who was joining us from Tokyo. “My team is literally everywhere. While we have our headquarters in Florida, we have major sites in Raleigh, Santa Clara and obviously our global team as well. So work really happens wherever you need it to.”
Companies might want to consider a mix of physical and digital spaces to allow work, as well as offer the technology that lets people work where they prefer, Minahan says. He points to a Gallup report that says employees with flexible work schedules are more engaged, and that flexibility includes both time and place.
Engagement: Productivity Vs. Complexity
Employee engagement came with the biggest surprise, especially if we think about these new digital workspaces. Most offices now have plenty of tech that allows us to work from anywhere, communicate, share files and engage in social channels. It may seem like having the right tools is all people need to be productive, but that’s not necessarily the case.
“Despite all that investment in technology, our productivity, U.S. productivity, on the whole, has continued to trend down, and it’s at some of its lowest productivity gross overall,” Minahan says. “There’s a lot of different conjecture on what’s causing this. But at the end of the day, it’s actually complexity. There’s just too many apps, too many different channels, too much content switching that makes all of us less productive and is contributing to this disengagement we’re seeing with the American workforce.”
He suggests that companies look at enterprise applications to see what might be adding too many screens or to-dos that get in the way of completing tasks. Prioritize tools that provide quick access to tasks and the insights that workers need to be productive.
“We spend a good part of our work week, about 20 percent of it, actually just searching for the information we need,” Minahan says.
The Gig Future
The culmination of these skills, location and productivity changes will lead to a significant increase in hiring from the gig economy for companies of all sizes, he says.
“Leading companies are beginning to blur the lines between full-time employees, gig workers and contractors. They’re moving toward these pools of talent where they understand the individual skills,” Minahan says. “They can rapidly bring them together to solve particular business issues. And they give them a digital workspace environment in which they can engage with one another regardless of where they are around the world.”
Once the solution is found, he says, those teams can be quickly dissolved to maximize efficiency and affordability. It’s an interesting look at the future and just one of the predictions Minahan gave us for how things will change within the next five years at Citrix and in the larger workforce.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Tim Minahan on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- TalentCulture’s 2019 #WorkTrends Feedback Survey.
- McKinsey report: “The world at work: Jobs, pay, and skills for 3.5 billion people.”
- Stripe and Harris poll: “The Developer Coefficient: A $300B opportunity for businesses.”
- Gallup’s “State of the Global Workplace.”
Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.
This episode is sponsored by Citrix.