Hyperconnectivity has led us to a new era, in which the “knowledge worker” has come to an end and the “digital worker” now needs to step up and create instant value from a vast array of real-time data. As technology continues to increase computing power and data analysis speed to real time, today’s companies and employees are called to adapt to the reality of automated and instantly available data.
The speed of information and data is driving such significant change in how and where we work that the digital worker is becoming a critical resource in decision-making, learning, productivity, and overall business management. How we adapt to these changes when we learn, interact, motivate, engage, connect, and create value for ourselves and our society will make the difference between being successful and being left behind.
How everything we know about work is being redefined
The opportunity ahead is to allow the digital worker and the future of work to serve as a platform for innovation and business transformation – enabling higher levels of engagement, passion, creativity, and productivity. Here are 6 main areas where the future of work and digital workers are key to business success in the digital economy:
1. Leadership involves everyone
In a workplace marked by instability and decreasing security, leadership is increasingly focused on building cohesive and well-functioning teams by tapping into a demographically diverse pool of often short-term employees or contractors. As digital workers are mindfully incorporated into this continuously changing workplace, management must juggle a distributed workforce that requires real-time analysis, prognosis, and decision-making. At the same time, they must develop the next generation of leaders who will actively take responsibility for innovation and engagement.
2. Engagement and the ability to make an impact
While 38% of millennials in developed markets still aspire to become leaders within their organization, the opportunity to take on personally meaningful work drives productivity and success. In fact, 53% of millennials would work harder if their organization actively made a difference to others. Thanks to the rise of the digital worker, new levels of transparency, and the ability to instantly measure the outcome of assets, tactics, and strategies, Generation Z has the potential to realize personal goals and improve engagement across the board.
3. Benefiting from technology means being more human
The importance of real engagement is not limited to employees; it also applies to interactions with vendors, partners, and customers. The rise of the social enterprise is a great example of how companies are starting to use technology to enable collaboration with employees, partners, and vendors. All the while, these same businesses are incorporating customer feedback into a single platform to increase customer satisfaction, business insight, and employee retention.
4. Workplace simplicity drives productivity
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, 55% of executives believe that their organizational structure is extremely or very complex – even to the point where their profits are negatively impacted. Even more astonishing is the loss of 45 minutes of productive time per day for U.S. executives.
To reduce complexity and increase productivity, management must drive a culture of collaboration and clearly measurable outcomes. And if done properly, the reward is significant: 76% of executives cite that if they could cut complexity down by half, their company would be at least 11% more productive overall – a massive improvement that any company could use.
5. A new workforce in a new job market
Both millennials and Generation Z are facing a new environment where job security is a thing of the past. This high-risk reality, combined with the desire for more work/life flexibility and control as well as job satisfaction, has driven the freelance economy to new heights – soaring as high as 45% of the workforce by 2017.
Companies need to reconfigure and adjust their physical locations to adapt to an ever-changing, digital workforce that is engaged in multiple projects for potentially various employers, located anywhere in the world, and comfortable with a virtual work style. To answer the needs of this growing segment of workers, organizations must quickly ramp up employees on any given project, enable collaboration, and foster team spirit for very diverse teams.
6. Leading in the future means a new perspective on learning
With a much more distributed and highly contingent digital workforce, managerial requirements are finding new ways to create cohesive, innovative, and well-functioning teams. However, team building is not the only focus – it’s also about delivering a comprehensive approach to reducing complexity, leading by example, and training the next generation of managers to be true leaders in the digital economy. For employees and freelancers alike, the digital economy creates an opportunity for providing continuous learning that is more active and self-directed.
The future of work is the future of the enterprise
Because the rise of the digital worker dramatically impacts the way we work, learn, hire, retain, manage, and make decisions, the future of work is intrinsically linked to the future of the enterprise. It transforms the way we deal with customers, vendors, employees, partners, and competitors.
By connecting the four areas of digital disruption (workforce, suppliers, assets, and customers), the digital core becomes the platform for future business innovation. Fluid, nimble, real-time digital business – this is the future of work.
**Taken From SAP’s Digitalist Magazine, Authored by Michael Rander**