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Why a platform approach is the future of workplace technology

Humans are creatures of habit. We grow accustomed to the way things are, even when they don’t work or serve us the way they should. 

At the same time, in the consumer landscape, we have come to expect a high standard of experience. Because of this, it’s not surprising that we presume that the products and services that we choose will not just work, but that they will make our lives better, easier, and more enjoyable.

The idea of challenging the status quo of workplace technology  is hyper-relevant to today’s and tomorrow’s workplaces. It’s especially pertinent to Gen Z, who currently accounts for approximately 61 million people in the U.S., a group larger than Gen X. In fact, research predicts  that Gen Z will comprise about 36% of the workforce by 2020. CNBC reports that “hiring Gen Zers will require more of a marketing effort by companies” as Gen Z “is looking more for good day-to-day work experiences.” 

It’s time to challenge the way workplaces have always operated

But even with the consumer experience instilling such great expectations for everything we do, we are still tolerating subpar experiences in our work lives––particularly when it comes to tools and technology.

A commissioned online survey of 1,000 Gen Z respondents (ages 16-23) in the United States supports these ideas around the future workplace as a space that facilitates shared learning, and access to technology that best supports opportunities to flex their adaptability skills. Despite being digital natives and very technologically-savvy, 43% of Gen Z respondents prefer to communicate with co-workers in-person

This is validating for companies who want to invest in the physical workplace experience. And what is Gen Z looking for in that regard? Nearly 70% believe that AI will positively impact their workplace experience (and 46% expect ‘smart’ meeting rooms, likely powered by AI, will be a part of their future workplace). Companies should take this as a green light to explore ways to incorporate technology into the workplace that automates the more mundane parts of the workday.

Envoy's vision for the future of work

The problem with too many workplace tools and the impact on employee experience

Bad experiences with technology or processes in the workplace affect both those that decide to adopt a tool (C-Suite) and those that use it (employees) in different ways. A SaaS trends report found that today’s businesses have between 40 and 200+ different tools and apps in-use in their workplace, and their employees use an average of 8 different tools every day. 

From the employee side of things, there’s a certain amount of fatigue that comes with ineffective or constantly changing tools in the workplace. This is especially true when different teams are using different versions of the same technology; for example, the marketing team loves Asana to manage projects, but the engineering team uses Jira exclusively. This can create work silos, where employees aren’t aware of the work of other teams because they are all operating and communicating within separate technology environments. Think of the losses in cross-functional collaboration, idea sharing, and product innovation that results from these workplace technology silos.

The sheer number of SaaS providers that each company works with means that facilities and IT teams spend too much of their time figuring out how to make their tools work or connect. This leads to less-than-ideal, shoehorned solutions to make the tool work correctly for their business’ needs. There has to be a better way to get our work done more effectively, more collaboratively, and in a way that encourages the continuous learning and growth opportunities that will define the future workplace. 

A workplace platform: where effective tools and teams meet

What is a workplace platform and what does it do? It combines all of the digital tools that power the processes and work of people in the physical workplace into one hub. This platform is built with tools that connect so that the end-user––the employee––doesn’t have to toggle between so many applications in order to get their work done. 

What can businesses stand to gain with a “less tools is more” approach? From an admin perspective, a workplace platform functions as a kind of virtual toolkit; like a digital Swiss Army knife, with the tools you need are consolidated in one place. Rather than select an individual tool for every need a team has, a workplace platform provides the ability to manage all workplace activities from a single dashboard. 

“I’ve been surrounded by technology my whole life. As a business leader, if I can’t implement something that’s going to be simple and reliable, I won’t implement it at all.” –Matt Harris, Head of Workplace Technology, Envoy

But, it’s the real-time analytics one platform provides that makes the biggest impact on IT and workplace leaders. This access to valuable usage insights allows workplace leaders to make more informed decisions and improve the workplace.

For employees, a workplace platform gives them everything they need to navigate your workplace in one place, so they can spend more time focusing on the work that matters. Whether setting up an interview with a candidate, being notified about an important delivery, or looking for a room to book a last-minute meeting, workplace technology should meet you where you are. A study by The Economist found that employees who responded that their company uses mobile technology in the workplace are typically more productive, creative, satisfied and loyal.  

So what does this mean for workplace leaders? A seamless, effective, and enjoyable workplace experience that is crucial  for bringing your workplace into the future––and recruiting the next generation, Gen Z. 

Get the blueprint for making your workplace experience better for Gen Z and every employee.