Fast forward 10-years from now and this is what you will see: 75% of the workforce will be Millennials. Already today, Millennials make up 40% of the workforce in North America. These employees, who are currently under the age of 35, will soon take over the bulk of our jobs. As a small business, are you prepared?
Millennials often get a bad reputation for being lazy and feeling entitled. Although it’s true that the way this generation works is different, there are ways that you, as a small business, can harness each Millennial employee’s unique talents.
One way is with technology.
The employees hailing from the 1980s and early 1990s grew up with the Internet. Google was their encyclopedia much more so than the Britannica books on their grandparent’s shelves. Email and instant messenger have always been common forms of communication.
Now, as more of this generation enters the workforce, small businesses can choose to continue ignoring this new way of approaching work, or they can empower Millennial employees with new tech tools. We suggest the latter. Here are a few of the steps you can take to make the transition smooth.
Collaborate With Technology
It might seem like Millennial’s noses are glued to their smartphones these days. And well that may be true, these behaviours can actually be taken advantage of by empowering a collaborative workforce. Millennials want to able to connect with, talk to, and collaborate with their team from anywhere, at anytime.
The solution: Office 365. Office 365 takes collaboration away from the cluttered email inbox and instead organizes it in a secure location that’s easily accessible by the right people. Live collaboration in all the Microsoft office programs you know and love is available 24/7. There’s also a short learning curve, so everyone in your organization can soon feel comfortable using this new platform for collaboration. Better yet, it’s scalable, so as your small business expands into a medium-sized business, your system can grow alongside with you.
Remote work goes way beyond having the ability to wear yoga pants and access the kitchen refrigerator without judgement. There’s a true benefit to breaking free from the confines of the office, such as bigger creativity and better productivity (really).
The solution: Remote Desktop Protocal (RDP) over a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
RDP is software that allows you to connect to your work computer, or terminal server, from a remote or home computer. This gives you access to anything you may need on your office network - just like if you were actually at the office.
For employees who take their laptop home with them, setting up a terminal server is a must. This will enable the employee to still connect to the office network from home.
For added security, create a virtual private network (VPN). This will ensure you don’t expose your remote desktop server directly to the internet. Instead, when you’re away from the office, you can connect to the VPN, and your computer will act like it’s part of the same local network at the office, running the remote desktop server.
Answer Calls On-The-Go
What happens when an employee leaves their desk? Do all of their calls go to voicemail? Or are other employees left to pick up the slack? If you’re allowing for your team members to work remotely, it’s a good idea to have a phone system that enables them to continue fielding calls just as regularly as if they were at their desk.
The solution: Voice Over IP (VoIP). By using a VoIP system, your employee can answer company calls from their mobile device. VoIP untethers your phone from the wall and moves it to the cloud. That makes it possible to continue answering calls on any device using the same phone number and setup. For remote workers, this is ideal because the clients never know they’re calling a location other than your office, or that they are receiving a call from a foreign destination if your employee happens to be abroad.
Implement BYOD in Your Office
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a popular trend among Millennials who feel more efficient and productive with their own devices at their disposal. However, for owners of SMBs, allowing this can make the company’s valuable data more vulnerable to security threats and breaches.
The solution: Security software. By installing the right security software and applications on each device brought in from outside of the office (or each device brought away from the office), you can put measures in place to make these devices as safe as possible. This minimizes any risks associated with accessing business intelligence via unsecured wifi connections, operating in different regions, using non-network data, or even having the device physically stolen from the employee.
Some people are night owls while others prefer to catch the morning worm. Allowing your employee to work based on their personal productivity preferences is a perk that will pay dividends for your SMB.
The solution: Be as flexible as possible. By using the above tech tools, you have the ability to empower your employees with flexible hours. VoIP is great for this. You can set up your phone system to ring for one person a certain number of times. If no one answers, it can automatically get forwarded to another person, so even if someone isn’t at their desk, or working variable hours, your business can continue to move forward.
Tech Tools to the Rescue
Empowering Millennials is the best way to put their unique abilities to work for your business. All it takes is the right technology and a strong company culture.
If you’d like to learn about the specifics of any of these solutions, or need help getting started, reach out anytime to us. We’d be glad to assist.