by Rikus Jansen, head of EOH Voice and Unified Communications

The traditional 9-5 working day of driving to an office, sitting in a cubicle for hours and then forgetting all about work at the end of the day is all but extinct.

Thanks to telecommuting and the rise of Millennials on the workplace, employees are now able to work from pretty much anywhere at any time of day, with little or no disruption or sacrifice in productivity.

Moving beyond “just” voice, into complete UC

To give Millennials and other workers greater flexibility to manage how and where they get things done, migrating fixed phone lines to non-geographic numbers via the cloud is often the first step.

Employees are ‘going rogue’ when it comes to what applications and services they are using for business communication and collaboration. Business phones are fading in relevance – a new approach beyond ‘just voice’ is clearly needed.

Who are these Millennials, exactly?

Intelligence Group studies of Millennials have found that:

  • 64% of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place.
  • 72% would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor.
  • 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one.
  • 74% want flexible work schedules.
  • And 88% want “work-life integration,” which isn’t the same as work-life balance, since work and life now blend together inextricably

Millennials are looking strategically at opportunities to invest in a place where they can make a difference, preferably a place that itself makes a difference. They are changing everything we thought we knew about doing business in the 21st Century.

How do we effectively respond to Millennials?

Millennials are the world’s first “digital natives,” which means they have grown up as the most photographed generation in history, and they expect businesses to mine their ever-increasing footprint of data. In part because of this, studies show Generation Y is less trusting of brands, older generations and even their peers (although, they cannot help but be influenced by them). Nevertheless, meeting Millennials in the digital space is no longer optional. It’s mandatory.

More than half of all Millennials in the workforce chose their position based on the positive contributions to society they saw from their employers. Millennials look for workplace culture and understand that how a brand interacts with its community not only improves the community; it improves the brand, as well.

Rikus Jansen is a Unified Communications specialist. He entered the South African technology space in the late 1980s, pioneering 3D animation and video effects in the broadcasting industry. This led to a career in corporate ICT outsourcing. He co-founded Ensync Voice Solutions, a unified communications company. After merging the Ensync companies with the JSE-listed ICT provider, EOH, he now heads up the EOH Voice and Unified Communications business, which is one of the leading communication providers in South Africa.