The Future of Work

Culture and technology reshape the workplace for a new generation.

At companies everywhere, the concept of work—what gets done, who does it, when, and where—is shifting continuously. But Millennials now tip the scales as the majority age group in the workforce, and they bring with them influences that are redefining “business as usual.”

Today, work is evolving into a virtual construct built on culture, place, and technology. The idea is to make the work environment fluid and flexible enough to position not only Millennials, but also Gen Xers and Boomers, to do their best work.

Culturally, determining how employees work best must factor in the type of business, job functions, preferences, and comfort levels. “Flexibility in how, when, and where they work is important to all in the workforce today. It is definitely a deciding factor as we attract the best talent in the technology industry to Juniper,” says Felicia Mayo, Juniper Vice President, Global Talent and Authenticity & Inclusion.

Flexibility extends beyond culture. IT and workspace, too, must cater to a diverse set of needs and preferences. “Work is becoming more mobile, disaggregated, and 24/7. It’s incumbent on employers to enable that to occur seamlessly,” says Bob Worrall, Juniper’s CIO and SVP.

Making computing resources more accessible in ways that match employees’ preferences will foster engagement by providing feelings of empowerment and ownership, according to Gartner. And giving employees the freedom to choose work parameters promises big payoffs for companies in terms of attracting top talent, employee retention, and productivity. Delivering that level of choice demands a culture and space that promotes it, and the technology tools to make it possible.

For example, workers will always need to collaborate. Fostering collaboration is as much about culture as it is about unified communications software. If engineers prefer to work in more isolation than the open-floor-plan marketing team, so be it—but the engineers still need the tools to brainstorm with colleagues.

The growing adaptability of communications networks is making this fluid-yet-connected digital workplace possible. Enterprise networks that are context-aware can automatically adapt to user whereabouts, capacity needs, and vulnerabilities. Network intelligence breaks down geographical biases and responds to traffic patterns to make way for mission-critical traffic, such as company meetings or quarterly finances. These networks equip companies with a delicate balance of security and choice to enable workplace trends such as BYOD, social media, and the Internet of Things.

“Work is less about work-life balance today and more about work-life integration,” says Mayo. “Employees want to integrate family, work, fun, and philanthropy, all while building their careers and doing something they love to do. This is what gives companies the competitive edge to attract the best talent.” Particularly where Millennials are concerned, creating that flexible, connected environment is the key not only to hiring and retaining top talent, but enabling those employees to do amazing things.

Watch as we follow this topic in an upcoming Insights article.