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Tomorrow's workers demand flexibility

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Generation Y employees want to work from home and have more flexibility regarding hours and connectivity.

Today's business world is much different than that of the past, as enterprises now have the opportunity to leverage advanced office phone systems, cloud computing and other innovative tools that support the ability to carry out operations in new ways. But technology is not the only thing that is changing how companies function, as decision-makers are increasingly pressured to transform the workplace to cater to the next generation of employees: Millennials.

In the coming years, businesses will find it increasingly important to meet the needs of new personnel entering the corporate landscape, as failing to do so will hinder the private and public sectors from expanding. In many cases, embracing new telecommunication strategies that make the work environment more flexible will be among the most critical transitions undertaken by decision-makers.

A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) highlighted the Millennial mentality, noting that flexibility will be among the top ways new workers judge companies and determine if working there will be beneficial. If businesses fail to make the necessary infrastructure and philosophical adjustments to cater to these demands, they will find it increasingly difficult to attract and retain top talent.

Millennials require a better work-life balance

While many of today's employees still value the concept of work, they do not want their jobs to overpower their everyday lives. For this reason, the Generation Y workforce appreciates organizations that support a remote workforce and the ability to conduct business operations outside of the conventional office.

"The Millennial generation is pushing organizations to the work world many of them want," said Terri McClements, vice chair and U.S. human capital leader at PwC. "Those organizations that pay attention to this seismic change and adapt accordingly should find themselves at a competitive advantage and better positioned to retain the talent they work so hard to attract."

PwC revealed that 64 percent of Millennials would like the opportunity to work from home on occasion, compared to 66 percent of non-Millennials. Furthermore, 66 percent of Generation Y employees also appreciate the ability to shift their work hours if necessary.

Unfortunately, today's individuals are much more used to working well beyond 40-hour weeks, leading many to consider sacrificing some of their pay to reduce their responsibilities, thus preventing them from getting a head start over colleagues in the long run, PwC reported. Still, enterprises can combat these concerns by implementing an advanced business phone system that supports remote connectivity and essentially enables them to create their own hours.

Using technology to attract Millennials

Taking advantage of the evolving telecommunications landscape can be an effective way for many companies to appeal to the demands of next-generation employees. This is especially important as the consumerization of IT continues to impact workforce mentalities, as more individuals believe it is downright necessary to support mobile connectivity, regardless if the devices are personal or corporate-liable endpoints.

If organizations are still reliant on legacy land line telephony solutions, however, reinforcing the use of smartphones and tablets in and outside of the workplace can be difficult, if not impossible. For this reason, decision-makers need to consider replacing old phone systems with more innovative technologies that are able to suit the needs of today's employees.

While there are a number of options for companies to choose from, the hosted PBX system can be among the most advantageous to firms of all sizes. This is largely because IT workers and C-level executives are becoming more familiar with the cloud and understand the potential benefits that are associated with using those solutions in the workplace.

Unlike traditional phone systems that could only be accessed through hard line connections, the cloud can be accessed from virtually anywhere at any time on any device. This agnostic philosophy is exactly what tomorrow's employees are looking for, especially as bring your own device (BYOD) picks up speed. Because BYOD enables people to use virtually any gadget they use in their daily lives, business phone systems cannot be biased and only support a single operating system or platform. While decision-makers can set some ground rules as to what types of endpoints can connect to the cloud VoIP network, taking a completely biased approach will be unappealing to many people.

A separate report by ABI Research highlighted how the cloud communications market is rapidly expanding, partially due to the growing understanding of the hosted technology, but also because the mobile landscape is growing at such an accelerated rate.

"Enterprise mobilization is also driving migration to the cloud," said Dan Shey, practice director at ABI Research. "Cloud applications ease application delivery for businesses that are increasingly relying on access across fixed and mobile endpoints."

In the coming years, enterprises around the world need to consider augmenting their telecom strategies to meet Millennial demands, as failing to do so will make it more difficult for those companies to stay competitive and, ultimately, survive in the long run.