Millennials are shaping the way the business world uses technology. One recent study by CommScope* shows conclusively that Millennials are reliant on the internet and their devices, and that this translates from the personal sphere to the professional one.
What does this reliance on technology mean for the 21st century workplace? What exactly do Millennials want in a work environment, and how can businesses give it to them? Integrated Building Systems President Chip Chapman and Technology Design Engineer (and millennial) Tim Carlson discussed the results of the CommScope study and provided insight into these questions regarding the shifting technological landscape.
Technology is integral to the lifestyle of Millennials. The CommScope study confirms this: nearly 75 percent of this generation state that they cannot go a whole day without their smartphones. Carlson argued that this is not a bad thing. “I think that there can be some clichés around Millennials spending all day on social media, but really phones are where a lot of the productivity is happening as well, from emailing to editing documents. Work can happen on all platforms,” he explained.
ANYWHERE, ANYTIME CONNECTIVITY
The CommScope study also reflects the millennial desire to switch seamlessly between platforms, especially when it comes to video streaming. Chapman asserted that this is part of the movement toward “anywhere, anytime, on any device” mentality. Besides wide access, this study shows that Millennials want fast, lag-free, and quality streaming.
According to CommScope, about 43 percent of Millennials strongly agree that they do not like video lag or long loading times, compared to 24 percent of Baby Boomers. Not only do they want their content to be available on any platform, they want it instantly. Since this is what is readily available to them at home, it has become an expectation for public spaces and offices.
Beyond the desire for flexibility and the expectation for speed, the millennial generation uses technology to connect with others. Carlson said, “Connectivity and communication are important and they’re not just a side benefit but a critical part of life. It’s just a different type of technology for a different generation.”
TECHNOLOGY FOR TALENT
Businesses can use the millennial world of technology to reach out to both potential clients and talent. “Some people think about this being a fad or being a little frivolous, but I think that it is not. It’s here to stay and it’s only going to become more and more ingrained in our culture and more and more expected,” Chapman explained. “It is worth businesses investing in because it is the way in which the world is moving.”
So how can businesses get ready for an influx of these expectations?
Chapman said the best way to prepare is to think about technology strategically. He explained that as a business owner, he uses technology as a tool not only to reach out to clients or potential clients, but also as a tool to attract and retain talent. The key to providing what potential clients and employees want—fast and reliable internet service across platforms, for example—is a solid technological infrastructure.
“Your WiFi is only as good as the cabling infrastructure and the rest of the network that supports it,” Chapman said. The irony of this new age, he explained, is that better wireless service comes from better wiring.
Once a strong infrastructure is established, businesses can provide the other thing Millennials want: flexibility. Carlson argued that Millennials ask questions like “Why can’t I be as flexible and portable as my technology and work wherever I need to be or want to be?” This perspective connects back to the CommScope findings about video streaming and the mentality of mobility. Carlson says that building up cloud-based access to work is the answer to this desire. Of course, this reinforces the need for a better infrastructure as data usage increases. The cost is offset by the increased potential for productivity outside of the office, and the satisfaction of both customers and employees.
The ultimate message from Integrated Building Systems about preparing to meet the demands of Millennials is to stay on top of technological trends. View investing in infrastructure as investing in the future of your company from the inside out: it can only help to move toward the future.
Listen to the TechTalk by Integrated Building Systems on “Get Your Network Ready for Millennials.” Available as a podcast and webinar, this TechTalk explores the study of the lifestyle, spending habits, and technology priorities of Millennials and outlines what you need to do to get ready to meet their expectations for fast, flexible, anytime-anywhere connectivity.
Contact Integrated Building Systems to discuss technology planning and specific strategies for improving anytime, anywhere connectivity at your workspace.
* CommScope study available at http://www.commscope.com/millennials/.