Our working habits have been changing dramatically over the last two or three decades, but it is predicted the pace will increase, becoming even more pronounced over the next few years. These transformations in the way we go about our work are revolutionising workplace structures and in turn the demands placed on our IT systems. Here we examine at a basic level, some of the key elements companies need to consider to facilitate the creation of an IT infrastructure to support a new breed of organisational structure.
Where we Work
Industry and situational pressures are forcing companies to find new ways of working and structuring their business. Some are finding the need to operate from multiple locations, recruiting employees with highly specialised skills they require in specialised project-based teams. Others are taking on sites internationally, finding it necessary to realise global economies of scale. Simultaneously, many large organisations with once highly prestigious headquarter locations, are feeling the pressure to offload overheads, getting rid of under-utilised office space.
Whatever the individual circumstances of the company, disparate locations present challenges for organisations. They must ensure all their sites are connected for easy, reliable communication whilst often having the inability to manage all onsite IT requirements from one central department.
Enhanced communication tools including high-speed broadband, improved computing equipment and new software has taken away some previous frustrations felt by those working from home. This means that flexible working arrangements and homeworking outside of the office are becoming increasingly commonplace. Whilst homeworking can be a great productivity and morale booster for employees with the right mindset, organisations must consider how to manage work stations and software across many sites, plus data security and employee performance monitoring within their home environments. This requires careful planning, process and contractual changes in addition to technical IT support.
Working on the Move
With the pace of change so fast and companies often working on various projects across multiple market sectors and different locations, meetings in offsite locations are regular and commonplace. Not only does this mean that offsite IT support is required for the meetings themselves, but employees will need access to IT facilities and services enabling them to work ‘on the go.’ From travelling on the train, hotel desks, cafes, temporary office locations to collaborative working environments and shared office space, modern day employees want to utilise every bit of the working day. Yet it is the portability of computing devices, mobile internet access and use of multiple third-party networks that make such working efficiency possible, that also require organisations to think more carefully than ever about their security settings, data management and encryption.
Team working and communication skills are highly sought-after skills in business today. In many professions, new initiatives and complex problem solving simply cannot take place without collaboration between people with different skill sets. As a result, the most dynamic, progressive organisations are investing in their working environments to create spaces for effective team working and efficient communications. Open plan layouts or team pods are commonplace in a move away from individual offices and big, cumbersome separate desks. Combine office overheads with progressive team working trends and companies should consider a host of IT related practicalities. Not least compact IT hardware, positioning of network ports and wiring, plus access permissions and project sharing.
Flexible Workspace Layouts
Common office layouts from the past, regularly saw staff stationed permanently in one place, often linked to their position in organisational hierarchy. Nowadays, staff find themselves needing to work on numerous teams liaising with colleagues across departments at different times and collaborating with field specialists and experts in a flatter company structure. With this in mind, modern offices are developed with flexibility and our IT system requirements are following suit. IT systems need to be flexible and portable to accommodate changes to project based teams and allowing users to move seamlessly between workstations whilst keeping data secure.
The Working Day or Night
A knowledge-based economy in the western world coupled with overcrowding on our transport networks, working parents and homeworking arrangements has led to increased flexibility around working hours to suit the pressures and opportunities of modern day lifestyles. Less and less people have nine to five jobs, preferring to work at times of the day which allow them to take on other tasks. Needless to say the corresponding demands on the IT support structure of many businesses becomes a round the clock requirement.
Established in 1993, LBT Computer Services has continually researched the latest trends in the IT market believing it is important to help customers stay one step ahead of the competition. If your organisation is undergoing extensive change or even struggling to keep pace with new ways of working, LBT can help you to design and implement a practical IT infrastructure to meet the needs of today and your future business. For a free consultation and an initial review of your IT systems, please click here and contact us today!