The workforce is changing and so is the modern workplace. Companies are finding ways to accommodate the preferences of 21st century workers and save themselves money at the same time. The average desk costs $10,000 a year, so wasted space can cost you a fortune annually, and optimizing space usage can be a key factor in a business’s success, according to Serraview. The Staples Workplace Index finds that 59% of Millennials believe flexibility will increase their productivity and 49% say it increases their happiness; Randstad says that 3.6 million Boomers will retire this year, and that 19% of Millennials and Gen Z taken together say flexibility is the most important workplace benefit. But flexibility isn’t just how the office is physically configured – it’s about using technology to the fullest to allow employees a greater degree of freedom than they’ve ever known before. With people always on the go, using web-based digital signage to support mobile technology and telecommuting makes more and more sense.
Some of this is perception – being seen as a leader in current technology trends. Adobe says that 85% of employees who feel their company’s technology is ahead of the curve say they love their jobs, and Sungard says 36% of employees would leave their current job for an employer who is more “digitally progressive”.
Not that long ago, that meant email, but email is not used much by younger workers, especially once they leave the office. In fact, Samanage finds that a full one-fifth of all workers feel negative feelings toward receiving emails outside of work. And when employees do check email, they increasingly do so on their mobile computing devices – that same Samanage study says almost one in four US adults receive company emails on such devices.
Employers are gradually adapting to using mobile technology to communicate, and they should because that’s what employees want. The Economist Intelligence Unit reports that employees who rated their employers as “pioneers” in supporting mobile tech were 16% more productive, 18% more creative, 21% more loyal and 23% more satisfied.
The thing about mobile is that it can be accessed from anywhere, and a lot of modern workers are beginning to ask if they even need to come in to the office at all to do their jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost one-quarter of all workers did either some or all of their work from home in 2015. Leadership IQ finds that only 24% of desk-bound workers say they “love” their jobs, compared with 38% of mobile workers and 45% of telecommuters. This is especially true of parents (Flexijobs says that a whopping 98% of parents say having a job with flexibility, including the option to work sometimes from home, would have a positive impact on their lives), and the fastest growing segment of the workforce – Millennials (Deloitte finds that 75% of Millennials would prefer working from home, but only 43% even have the option to).
One barrier to telecommuting is the perception that when people work from home, they don’t really work. In fact, the opposite is true – The Harvard Business Review, The Society for Human Resource Management, Hubstaff and many others find that people working from home are more productive than those working in the office (they even work when they are sick). Another objection is that telecommuting workers will feel disconnected from work. This is where your web-based digital signage can help.
If you have a web-based content management system for your signage, people can contribute messages from anywhere, simply by logging into a URL. That means mobile employees and managers can still contribute to your communications, even if they’re not in the office.
You can also extend the reach of your digital signage so message playlists go out to employees’ mobile devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.) using a publisher, or simply put it on your intranet as a feed if you want more security. Since they’re already interacting with the office using their home computer or mobile device, it’ll have the same impact as displaying your messages on digital screens in house.
You want to make sure they check the feed regularly, so make sure to include action items and keep the content fresh and lively. Remote workers can be included in gamified message campaigns, so they’ll really pay attention and stay involved. You can even create a playlist just for them, with messages that are specific and relevant to remote employees.
If the concept of the office now includes remote locations, the concept of digital signage can do the same. Remember that literally anything with a screen can be a digital sign. Even if it’s at home or on the road.