The Modern Worker: What does this mean for businesses?

Join XMA Marketing Manager, Samia Kenley and guest speaker Terry Chana, Lead Workspace Consultant from XMA, discussing how the workplace can embrace new working styles of the modern worker, inspire innovation and attract and retain talent in the IT industry. The tech industry has opened up a new world of jobs that didn’t even exist 10 years ago – an exciting prospect for the next generation of workers! We take a closer look at this in our latest podcast. Our key discussion points include:

  • What does the term ‘Modern Worker’ mean?
  • What can businesses do to accommodate the Modern Worker?
  • How can understanding the Modern Worker’s needs, help drive efficiency in the workplace?


Samia Kenley
Marketing Manager

Guest Speaker

Terry Chana
Lead Workspace Consultant

The Modern Worker is someone that uses tech in a modern way.

  • Anyone can be considered a modern worker.
  • Digital working can include the use of applications in the working environment, be that in an office, a school, a hospital or anywhere else.

To meet expectations, businesses need to bring a personal experience into the workplace.

  • It is important to understand how your workers work and what applications they are using to allow for effective adoption of tech in the workplace.
  • Governance needs to be considered to minimise risk.
  • Don’t forget about the user experience.

Collaboration capabilities is key for the Modern Worker.

  • Collaboration tools are vital in enabling the Modern Worker.
  • The ability to collaborate using live documents and video conferencing allows more productive and flexible working methods.

It’s all about mindset.

  • It is important for organisations to understand their workers role and how they are targeted, to figure out how best to apply modern working methods.
  • Flexibility is key when considering the Modern Workers needs.

Hello and welcome to the XMA plugin, our brand new and informative podcast for IT professionals, where we will be discussing and sharing knowledge on the latest trends across the technology market, with key insights from an esteemed panel of industry experts.

Samia Kenley: A very warm welcome to everyone. My name is Samia Kenley and I’ll be your host for our second XMA plugin podcast. We’re very excited to share our expertise across such a broad range of IT discussion points. Every episode I’ll be inviting guest speakers to join me in our chat room and today I’m joined by our lead consultant for workspace; Terry Chana. Welcome to the hot seat, Terry.

Terry Chana: Thanks Samia, hi.

Samia Kenly: Hi. So Terry, let’s kick off with what does the term modern worker actually mean? If we take your role for example, your job probably didn’t exist a few years ago and other examples I can think of would be an AR and VR developers or multi-cloud integrators. So, in 20 words or less, what’s your take on this?

Terry Chana: So in my mind, modern worker is someone who uses technology in a creative way. So that could be anything from, students at school where we are seeing massive use of technology today, to do their classroom work, their assignments, the teachers marking those assignments digitally to save time, right through to when those students go to the physical work space and start doing their work.

Samia Kenley: So anyone really in today’s day and age can be considered a modern worker.

Terry Chana: That’s it, yeah.

Samia Kenley: So that’s great. And I would also consider myself as a modern worker. So Terry, now that we’ve defined who the modern worker is, what can businesses do to meet the expectations of a modern worker?

Terry Chana: So kind of in our personal lives with the consumerization of IT, the low price points, the powerful devices that pretty much all of us carry in our pockets. We’re kind of used to the experience that we have on those devices, it’s personalized we have all the apps that we want. We used to, the way those apps work, we like the interface, all that kind of great stuff. So a big part of the organization is kind of helping bring that experience into the workplace.

Samia Kenley: And how difficult is that because I guess there’s different governances as well within organizations?

Terry Chana: So a lot of businesses already going, a cloud first or mobile first approach. I think the key thing is to understand how your workers work, understand what tools they use. You might find that they’re using tools that aren’t sanctioned by the organization, which can produce a risk to the business, but it’s kind of understanding why they’re using those tools, what purpose they help fulfil, and then kind of working with those lines of business and those workers to make the experience a bit better. Some of the other stories that we’ve heard in the past, some enterprises have, clunky applications and those clunky applications, result in low adoption rates and not a lot of users will use those applications. And that will kind of leads back to the personal experience that you have on your personal device and the apps that you use. So it’s kind of bringing a kind of a middle ground where your maintaining security but at the same time providing users with an experience that they’re kind of familiar with.

Samia Kenley: So modern workers for example, they may have commitments outside of work. For example with young children, how can employing a more human touch of really understanding the modern workers needs help efficiency?

Terry Chana: With mobile working with a cloud first mobile first strategy, a lot of these needs are kind of met by organizations. I think some of the pieces that occasionally get missed is around the user experience, around things like simple things like the self-service. So users might need access to certain applications, they should be able to navigate to their corporate app store, request the applications if it’s approved, it appears for them, all that kind of stuff. And there should be no kind of restriction on collaboration.

Samia Kenley: So how does collaboration really actually work in real terms within an organization, would you say? Because it’s great to talk about collaboration, but how does it actually work?

Terry Chana: So it depends on what we’re talking. If you’re talking about collaboration in terms of sharing documents, we have lots of products available out there enterprise products from Microsoft, from Google, so you can use those products to share documents. You can use those products to collaborate in real time on documents. You also have the video piece of it, so for your video conferencing, video calling and it’s making the best use of those with your workforce no matter where they are. It’s the same if I go on holiday, I’ll go on holiday most times I go, I take the whole family, I said the kids will be with us as well. The kids like talking to their grandparents, so they’ll have a Skype call and that’s kind of no different being anywhere in the world and communicating then is when you’re in the workplace and just having those tools available, so you can do the work productively.

Samia Kenley: You’ve touched on points that will resonate with our listeners for sure. But going back to my previous question on employees working from home, how would they have personalized experiences when they do come to the office? Now let’s touch on the modern workplace. What are the potential benefits of using tech for efficiency? For example, if you reduce the amount of space needed because people are working from home more often, how do you account for that reduction? For example, let me throw in: hot desking for example, sounds like a great idea, but in reality, I think you probably can touch on that.

Terry Chana: Yeah, it’s a great topic. And, but before we talk about technology, I think we need to take a step back and try and have a, try to understand, the mindset, the needs and the wants. And that comes in two parts and the first side you have the line of business. Some lines of business are used to kind of having their team of staff sat at the same desks as them on the bank of desks. So there used to that kind of open quotes, bums on seats, closed quotes.

Samia Kenley: So, the visibility aspect?

Terry Chana: That’s kind of it. Yeah, yeah. And the other thing as well with that they feel they can feel like they are kind of losing control of their team if they can’t physically see them, they feel like they’re losing control. And so we do talk to some customers and we’re trying to understand what the workers role is and how they’re kind of measured. So is it a task based or outcome-based? If its outcome-based, It’s quite straight forward because you set an objective and you expect that outcome to be achieved. If its task based its a little bit harder, but we do work with customers kind of on that side. On the other side you have, the workers themselves we’re all social creatures by nature and a lot of people were coming to the physical workplace to socialize. They might feel isolated working from home, so it’s kind of getting a real good understanding of which workers are comfortable working from home, which ones aren’t, and kind of trying to meet their needs collectively rather than having a blanket policy for everyone across the organization. But if you go back to your question about hot desking, some of the biggest frustrations from employees is they travel, from quite far in most cases. They get to the physical workspace and they find that there’s no desk for them to work at, and then I think the final nail in the coffin is that they find none of their peers are in the office on the same day. So from a employee perspective, it is quite painful. They’ve travelled all that way, gotten into the office, want to have a really productive day, want to catch up with their colleagues but find none of them are in the office. So it kind of puts, probably puts them in a non-productive mood for the rest of the day. So applying simple, technology can really help businesses overcome this issue. Just at a really high level there’s customers that we’re working with in the public sectors as well as the corporate sector where we’re helping them provide an app so their employees can book a desk before they turn up to the office. And at the same time they can see they have visibility of which other colleagues are going to be in the office and collectively they can book together, book a huddle space, get in the office, be really productive cause they’re working together or the user can just book the desk and just turn up at the office and have a productive day on, on their own.

Samia Kenley: Oh wow. So just to wrap up, the modern worker is a tech savvy person uses tech to work smarter, not harder, achieving more with tools that allow more efficient and productive ways of working and businesses recognizing that through transformative strategies they’re able to retain talent and develop their teams whether they adopt a digital or physical approach. There are three parts to a successful transformation strategy: people, processes and technology. I think all our listeners have now much better understanding of who the modern worker is and how the modern workplace can transform employee engagement. If anyone would like to get in touch to discuss their own workspace transformation projects, please do contact with us and our technical experts at XMA. As always, our contact details are on our podcast page. Thank you once again, Terry, it was a pleasure to have you here to talk to us on this very hot topic.

Terry Chana: Thanks, Samia.

Samia Kenley: And a massive thank you to all our listeners for tuning into the XMA plugin. We would love to continue the conversation with you, so please do get in touch, but for now, catch you next time.