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Generations, Technology and BYOD in the Workplace

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An interesting study by Cornerstone OnDemand and Kelton, gauged employees’ attitudes about technology in the workplace and whether company-provided applications adequately facilitate their productivity.

Their research revealed a surprising phenomenon – the always-on, tech savvy younger workforce who grew up in the information age is actually overwhelmed by the chaotic pace and inundation of technology, even more so than the older generation who could take it or leave it. Could it be the technology has actually pushed Millennials too far and now they are yearning for a simpler way of work life? I can see the older generation smiling at the thought.

The study’s stats prove at least half of the 1,029 questioned feel overloaded by work, with the majority being in the younger Millennial generation. There’s pressure out there to have the latest and greatest technology, speak the jargon and adopt the newest app to prove your know-how. Yet while technology and related applications can help us be more productive and connected, 72 percent of those surveyed prefer to collaborate in person. It seems face-to-face communication still reigns supreme in a world where video chat, texting and conferencing are becoming the norm.

No app can replace human interaction – body language, eye movement and tone are vital ingredients to evaluating a conversation and responding appropriately. In fact, some studies place body language and tone at a whopping 93 percent of how a message is conveyed; only 7 percent coming from the actual words said.

Eric Silverman, president and CEO at BlueHorizons Tek Solutions, an IT staffing and consulting company, agrees, “Few people are hired without some sort of face to face interaction during the interview process,” he says. “We rely on ShoreTel Sky for our phone system because often times, our phone is our only link to clients and we want to be sure we have the best possible connection. But companies are looking for chemistry as much as technical skills and you can’t get that sense via the phone or Skype. Usually when a candidate doesn’t get an offer, it’s because they didn’t fit into the culture, not because they lacked a skill. Hiring companies can see the skills on paper (or in an app) but they don’t get a feel for the person until they talk with them and get to know them. Relationships still matter and people want to know who they hire will work well with their team.”

So what technology is actually beneficial to the workplace? The survey noted well more than half of the Millennials and just over half of the older generations said they would use wearable technology if it enabled them to do their jobs better. Sure, Google Glass sounds cool but can you walk, chew gum and surf the web at the same time?

Desktops are still the most used device but Millennials would prefer to bring their own device to work, most likely in the form of a smartphone loaded with productivity apps promising to save the precious little time we all seem to have. Many of the apps loaded on the phones will need integration to company CRM and other applications so mobile workers can be as productive outside of the office as in, making ShoreTel Sky a good option to ensure that level of connectivity. And what matters most? Ease of use and convenient access to information are critical. We don’t have time to learn new things that are supposed to save us time.