Skype for Business and the Mystery of the Millennial
When the word millennial first began being used, it signalled a new atmosphere around work. This new demographic encouraged a paradigm shift in the way society approaches the world of work. The rise of millennials in the workplace may have directly influenced the adoption of new technology; here, we look at how the millennials favourite medium – video chatting – has made its way into their daily environment.
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Skype for Business, as we previously discussed in part one, changed the way we collaborate both in our personal lives and at work. As the world has grown closer, the idea of communication, and the concept of the office itself, has changed immeasurably. Those born between 1980 and 2000 are due to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2020, which has led to many businesses reassessing the way their employees approach their working lives.
Technology and the Millennial
With video conferencing, the options were always there but the adoption was not. The prospect of teaching staff to work entirely new programs would be likely to disrupt workflow and take a long time to show return on investment. The idea of repurposing an existing platform for business communications led to what we now know as Skype for Business. The platform was bred between Microsoft’s Lync platform and the worldwide household name that was the personal Skype program. For years previously, people had been using Skype to keep in touch with far flung family and friends. Video calling became a standard with Skype in 2006, when a large part of the millennial demographic were becoming prevalent users of web-based technology and messaging services.
As time moved on, so too did the concept of video communication. Whereas texting used to be the primary way for teenagers and twenty-somethings to keep in touch, now video offered an instantaneous way of conversing. Face-to-face no longer meant being in the same room, and the quality of conversation did not suffer for it. The idea of immediate collaboration with friends has now defined what the millennial worker expects from collaboration within their job role. Research by Microsoft shows that when millennials were asked what factors draw them into a company, “good team collaboration” was the top choice.
Why is the Millennial So Important?
The adoption of Skype for Business is a step towards embracing the millennial lifestyle, but why is it necessary? Is the millennial’s attitude to work really the be all and end all of contemporary business communication? Simply put, the answer is yes. Although traditional collaboration techniques, such as large boardroom meetings, emails and telephone calls, are still used frequently, there is a noticeable need for the corporate world to catch up with the personal world. Skype for Business has helped millennials workers approach workplace collaboration that much more easily. Due to its recognisable interface, and the fact that millennials converse with the peers via video mediums – Snapchat, Periscope and Facebook Messenger for example – Skype for Business can be easily integrated into workflows, and be more easily adopted by workers. You can learn more about Skype adoption in the next part of this series.
Some die-hard traditionalists are reluctant to embrace video in their collaboration strategies; this could be down to a variety of reasons. On an existential level it may be a dislike of conforming to a new generation’s interpretation of what collaboration should be, however there are other reasons why video-enabled collaboration may be low down on a CIO’s list of priorities. Factors such as cost, training and loss of productivity in the interim stage can affect decisions. Skype for Business utilises a platform that is familiar to a variety of people, not just millennials, and costs little when compared to large scale deployments.
What attracts many, including the millennial demographic, to use Skype for Business and the Skype for Business Server, is its levels of interoperability. Smartphones, tablets and any video-enabled device capable of downloading and running applications, can be an endpoint. The workplace is no longer defined by a bricks and mortar location. This is another exciting prospect for the millennial.
Decrease Stress, Increase Productivity
We have discussed the power of Skype for Business and flexible working in a practical sense, but it has a more empirical quality for the young workers moving down their career path. Work-related stress is costing UK employers £1.24billion a year and is the number one cause of sickness in the UK. Millennials have seen their parents and older siblings burn out as the 9-5, seventy hours a week became necessary during a time of economic recovery. Now, there has been a significant focus on the work/life balance and addressing employee’s needs in terms of family obligations, downtime and being able to switch off. Flexible working hour legislation has led to a large portion of the UK workforce requesting changes to their contracted hours and, in a lot of cases, moving their workflow to a home-based strategy.
Skype for Business, and its aforementioned interoperability, means the millennial is able to work wherever suits them, decreasing the potential for stress and yet keeping the same levels of communication and productivity that would be expected from an office-based employee.
A typical millennial employee wants to work in a forward-thinking and technologically advanced office. The Microsoft study stated that 93% said that working for a company with updated technology, services and solutions was important to them; 48% said it was “extremely important.” If companies are not willing to embrace new technology and look to the social world for inspiration, they risk losing talented employees to companies who can offer them an environment in which they can thrive. Utilising Skype for Business, or a video conferencing platform that reflects the nature of a business, is the best and, probably soon, the only way to retain top talent and collaborate effectively with the largest generation of workers in the world. If you are interested in onboarding more millennial talent, speak to Videocall today about our ICE platform, an innovative cloud experience which is interoperable with Skype for Business.
Do you need to know more about Skype for Business and its potential within your business? Our free whitepaper, “Enhance Your Collaboration with Skype for Business”, takes a deeper look at how it can improve internal and external collaboration.