There’s no doubt that technology has impacted society, businesses, people, and almost everything we do. The way we consume, the way we work, the way we serve our customers, and the way we collaborate have been revolutionised in the digital era.

However, irrespective of what we may think, that change isn’t being driven by businesses, it’s being driven by people, says Adeshni Rohit, Business Unit Manager for Cisco, at Axiz, SA’s leading value-added ICT distributor. “Today’s workforce live in an ‘always-on’ world, with mobile devices and applications at their fingertips. They are in charge, and failure to meet their demands puts organisations in danger of becoming stagnant and irrelevant.”

She adds that today’s workforce is also more mobile, tech-savvy and collaborative than ever before. “The demand for cross-functional collaboration is needed now more than ever, and practically every business outcome needs flexible teams that form and disband rapidly, as and when needed.”

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to our human resources, says Rohit. “Workers are culturally and generationally diverse. They are more connected than ever before, and at the same time, more spread out across the globe. What they all have in common though, is a need for balance and flexibility. They want to be engaged and fulfilled, and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

This, says Rohit, is driving the need for a new kind of work environment, one that can accommodate new ways of working, today’s digitally-savvy workforce and cutting-edge technologies, and ultimately one that makes it easier for workers to get their jobs done, more quickly and with greater accuracy.

Building the workplace of the future

She notes that building this workplace of the future requires collaboration from all the stakeholders in the business. “Human resources, technical, operations, and management need to develop an integrated strategy that incorporates feedback from all areas of the business. This is the best way to ensure a design that meets everyone’s needs and an implementation that is smooth and seamless, without disrupting the business.”

There are also some essential steps to take, she says: “Firstly, employees must have access to the business applications they need, in ways that work for them, as this is a sure-fire way to keep them both interested and productive. The best business apps enable teams to work without interruption, regardless of whether team members are working from home, in a different location, or are travelling. They need to be able to build, view, amend, and collaborate on project documents in real-time, 24/7.”

In work forces that are dispersed over multiple locations, having a face-to-face meeting isn’t often possible, and phone or email don’t always do the job. “Invest in real-time presence technology that unites voice, video and content sharing, to improve the quality of communications and build trust. An added bonus is that virtual collaboration can dramatically lower costs for any organisation.”

Have the correct security protocols in place to allow for leniency when it comes to ‘BYO’ whether it is a device or application, and ensure they are sanctioned by the IT department. “Further to security, note that cloud environments add to security complexity, as do the use of social media and mobility. Today’s threat landscape is as vast as it is diverse, and today’s workers need security solutions to protect their network from determined attackers, without impinging on performance,” explains Rohit.

More collaboration equals better productivity

The more employees collaborate, the more productive they become. While this may seem like a huge generalisation, but it is not, she adds. “The vast majority of staff members increase their output, and at a better quality, when they are allowed to brainstorm, collaborate and swap ideas around. When diverse skills come together, under the right conditions, innovation will flourish, and the team will function better as a whole.”

The key value proposition of collaboration tools is to enable employees to work from anywhere, on any device, and this is exactly what Cisco solutions enable – unified communications to unite voice, video, data, and mobile applications, to satisfy workers with omnichannel experiences. Conferencing to enable simplified teamwork, with intuitive solutions that bring people together, and collaboration endpoints, to make virtual collaboration more lifelike than ever.

“The right workplace tools can have an amazing influence on workers’ motivation, performance, and productivity.  Workplace transformation is crucial to growing the business and fueling success, for both enterprises and their SME counterparts, and Axiz and Cisco are committed to helping organisations realise success and meet their goals as they embark on their digital transformation journeys.”

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