Konica Minolta has identified five key trends for 2023 that will influence and define the digital workplace. Both workplaces and working practices have been transformed because of the pandemic, however, now with a cost-of-living crisis, high inflation, a climate emergency, and the ongoing ramifications of the war in Ukraine, UK businesses cannot afford to stay still.
The pressure to ‘do more with less’ in all areas of business is likely to be a major challenge throughout the forthcoming year. To achieve this, organisations will need to rely more than ever on innovative new technologies that create Intelligent Connected Workplaces that engage with and empower employees to achieve commercial objectives.
Trend 1: Growing importance of communication and collaboration tools in times of hybrid working
The increasing move to hybrid working has highlighted to many businesses that older communications platforms (such as email) are no longer suitable for enhanced online collaboration needs. Teams serves as a hub for teamwork, facilitating project management, chats/calls and meetings, content sharing, and authoring – all in one place. Since February 2020, the average Teams user has increased their weekly meeting time by 252 per cent and sent 32 per cent more chats each week in February 2022 than in March 2020.
Trend 2: Doing more with less - AI and a more immersive digital world
With the Internet of Things (IoT) continuing to expand seemingly without limits, more and more systems are being encompassed by business networks. Linked to this is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), whereby AI takes over certain processes (often repetitive labour-intensive functions). Video analytics is another important aspect of this automation.
Trend 3: Meeting evolving employee demands whilst closing the skills-gap
This particularly affects Generation Z workers. 58 per cent (vs. 43% overall) of them are likely to consider changing employers this year. One-third (31%) of employees already changed their jobs in the past two years. The top reasons for not accepting a job offer include a lack of flexible hours (37%) and location flexibility (28%), as 53 per cent are more likely to prioritise health and well-being than before the pandemic. Companies that take this into account and provide a better work-life balance through flexible models satisfy their employees, attract new talent, improve productivity, and remain competitive.
The well-publicised UK skills shortage will continue in 2023, but an alternative solution that is gaining increasing interest is talent outsourcing. With communication and collaboration tools powering hybrid working, there is no reason not to look further afield for the professional talent required to flexibly meet the rapidly scaling needs of the business.
Trend 4: IT-as-a-Service for greater flexibility in challenging times
IT-as-a-Service delivers considerable benefits for any business and will be particularly useful for UK businesses looking to meet the challenges of 2023 and beyond.
Instead of buying IT hardware, software, and services outright, the business receives everything required at a set cost for each member of the team. This avoids high initial capital expenditure costs and an in-house IT provision to service it, whilst ensuring inclusive costs for maintenance and upgrades remain predictable and affordable. The business can easily scale its IT functions up or down to meet commercial and team needs. Desktop-as-a-Service takes this approach a step further by delivering a virtual desktop to an individual or specific group of people based on their job requirements. When an employee leaves and no longer needs access to company data, permissions can be quickly and easily revoked, making it highly secure as well as cost-effective.
Trend 5: Stricter expectations on climate protection
COP 27 in Egypt in November 2022 showed how tough the negotiations are in terms of agreeing to strict climate change targets. The European countries had stricter expectations in advance, with the European Green Deal already setting EU member states the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 to fulfil the commitments agreed upon at COP 21 in Paris in 2015. The UK Government has also launched a major international climate package which includes £65.5m for green tech innovation and triple funding for climate adaptation as part of that budget, from £500m in 2019 to £1.5bn in 2025.
Climate protection obligations will need to factor into all UK business operations despite the pressures of rising energy costs and the need to facilitate hybrid working. Additionally, UK businesses that trade with customers and partners in the EU will need to consider the recently agreed forthcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which requires companies to report annually on the governance, social and environmental impacts and risks related to their activities.
Mark Ash, Chief Revenue Officer at Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) said, “as UK businesses and organisations of every type look to ‘do more with less’, the Digital Workplace will become even more important in 2023 and beyond. Pressures to increase sustainability, whilst reducing costs and supporting hybrid working, and engendering workplace flexibility, will mean greater pressures on the IT provision and increased use of automation. Konica Minolta’s Intelligent Connected Workplace portfolio is designed to address all these needs from a single expert supplier, enabling organisations to concentrate on their core activities with full peace of mind they can address the wider challenges ahead.”