We’re excited to continue exploring Gen Z and the workplace in part two of our “Bridging the Gap” blog series. Last month, we explored the statistics from a recent LaSalle Network survey which revealed that 48% of Gen Z individuals reported feeling they lack the technical skills they’ll face at the office. We first suggested ways employers and educational institutions can better prepare Gen Z for the workplace. Then, we explored insights from Mopria Alliance members at Adobe, Kyocera, and Lexmark with expectations for ways Gen Z may prompt greater innovation and creative new technologies from creators of office equipment and devices.
This month, we’re finishing this series with some block-and-tackle strategies for employers to revamp their workplace with equipment that will better serve Gen Z and future generations to come.
Preparing the Workplace for Gen Z – Day-to-Day Tools and Devices
As we anticipate future innovation, we can also implement shorter-term changes within our workplaces. On the employer’s side, actions can be taken to adopt technology and practices that streamline the office workflow. These updates will benefit younger employees and experienced office workers alike, while also better supporting hybrid working as employees move freely between the office and remote work environments.
Let’s take a look at several ways to do this, with insights from print industry leaders.
1. Conduct a Technology Audit. A good place to start is by conducting a technology audit of existing office equipment. Evaluate hardware, software, communication tools, and other technologies currently in use. Identify redundancies, outdated systems, and areas for improvement. This audit will serve as a baseline for streamlining and standardizing technology.
“Gen Z is accustomed to the seamless integration of technology in their personal lives. Auditing print and scan equipment allows employers to assess whether their devices and systems are up-to-date and compatible with modern workflows and digital platforms. By investing in up-to-date technology, employers can align with the expectations of younger employees and create a more technologically advanced workplace.”
Dilinur Wushour, President, Kyocera Document Solutions Development America, Inc.
2. Define 360° Collaboration Standards. With hybrid work expected to be the overwhelming preference by 2025, now is the time to establish collaboration standards that harness technology to offer a work environment where the digital and physical lines begin to blur. The digital natives of Gen Z will take quickly to tools like Microsoft Teams, but if they’re working from the office, will set up a conference to include remote colleagues in a meeting be as intuitive? Think of all the possible ways your employees will need to collaborate and define standards and tools that facilitate this—ideally without the help of IT support who may not be able to help a remote employee as easily.
“Workspaces will continue to evolve to meet a dynamic and changing workforce, which includes tailoring spaces to the needs of all generations, including Gen Z and younger employees. We’ve seen examples of updated workspaces that include leveraging collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom to meet with employees regardless of an employee’s location that day or that hour. These platforms also provide times when a conversation is needed. Collaboration spaces are also a key element to this effort, reducing the amount of solitary space and creating more comfortable, inviting yet technology-enabled workspaces. For example, in one of our existing office spaces at Lexmark, we removed ~25 cubicles and replaced them with couches, high-top tables, and -think dedicated spaces to be inclusive and meet the needs of collaborative workspaces.”
Eric McCann, Manager, Technology Portfolio Architect, Lexmark
3. Simplify Workflows with Integrated Systems. Integrate systems and tools to streamline processes and eliminate unnecessary manual processes. Look for solutions that can integrate with each other, reducing the need for duplicate data entry or switching between applications. For example, installing the Mopria Print App and Mopria Scan on employees’ Android phones will greatly simplify their printing and scanning workflows. After familiarizing themselves with just these two applications, they’ll be able to use them to customize and release print jobs and scan documents directly to their smartphones from any nearby Mopria certified device.
“The Mopria Scan app enables the user to digitize a document with high quality from any certified scanner or multi-function printer. You can save and export the scan as a PDF, which can be viewed on any device – be it phone, tablet, or laptop – making it easy to share with co-workers, and possible to review and mark up using any number of PDF tools whether that’s Adobe Acrobat or tools built into a PDF viewer.
If you’ve made changes to the PDF – maybe by typing new text onto it – the PDF can contain a mix of the original scan and the new text, even doodles you might have made electronically in the margin! The image of the scan, the text, and the drawings can all be stored with the highest fidelity in the PDF, and non-destructively so you can delete those doodles before you print the final document without worrying about having damaged the document.
When you need to create a paper copy – maybe including those electronic notes you made, or changes made to the text – you can use the Mopria Print Service directly from your Android phone to print that PDF on any printer. If your Mopria Certified printer supports PDF, the same PDF as was scanned or marked up can be sent to the printer for output, ensuring reproduction with the highest possible quality.”
Mike Scrutton, Director of Print Technology & Strategy, Adobe
4. Stay Up-to-Date with Technology Trends. With the audit complete and new equipment in place, it’s important to maintain awareness of emerging technology trends and assess their potential impact on the organization. Stay informed about advancements in areas such as AI, automation, cybersecurity, and remote collaboration tools. Evaluating these trends can help identify opportunities for innovation and provide a competitive edge that will simultaneously better support your employees and increase their productivity and efficiency.
By streamlining and standardizing office technology, employers can pave the way for Gen Z and their incoming technology aptitudes and hesitations and enhance the overall employee experience. Investing in the right tools, providing comprehensive training, and embracing feedback will contribute to a seamless and user-friendly technology ecosystem.
To learn more about the Mopria Alliance and our standards for print and scan technology, please visit www.mopria.org.