Millennials must drive technology advances in the modern workplace.
Once upon a time, I was a spotty teen seeking out the most obscure indie bands I could find to appear cool. It didn’t work. I remained an uncool spotty teen now – complete with a useless knowledge of obscure indie bands. Thankfully, in the years that have followed, I realised that this is not the true path to happiness.
Like my ideas that evolved and changed with time, so does the world around us. Technology included. One of my niche indie bands was Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies. They surmised, in their obnoxiously long 2004 EP, “Hurrah! Another year, surely this one will be better than the last; the inexorable march of progress will lead us all to happiness”. As pompous and ridiculous as this statement may seem as an EP title, the sentiment rings true – in a work setting at least.
This idea is shown in an interaction I had with a manager –
Manager: Can you install the system on my computer?
Me: No need – you can access it over the internet. It’s a cloud-based system.
Manager: A what?
Me: A cloud-based system. All the data is stored on a secure server in the cloud and it runs over the internet,
Manager: But where is the cloud?
Me: The cloud isn’t real. It is a workspace environment where we can access our data via the internet, in a secure way, from anywhere.
Manager: Ok but where are the servers?
Me: At the hosting company’s site.
Manager: At their site? But what if I need to access the data?
Me: We can log into the system and access it.
Manager: But the servers aren’t here, how can you do that?
[Repeat ad nauseam]
The march of progress has meant that technology has moved on rapidly and there are few places where this is more apparent than at work. When was the last time you sent a fax or saved a file onto a floppy disk? This progress means it is easy to be left behind if you don’t move with the times. If employees are left to tackle with archaic and dinosaur legacy tech, it can cripple a company both financially and productivity-wise.
As the most tech-savvy generation, the responsibility falls to Millennials to find ways to streamline processes, be more cost effective and discover new and fantastical ways of working. But, more importantly, Millennials must bring everyone else along for the journey. How are we meant to get buy-in for these technologies and embed them into the workplace if we cannot show colleagues from older generations why they are important? If we cannot get our managers excited about the possibilities of a new piece of technology, what is the likelihood that the company gets left behind?
It is not always easy and requires determination. It is, however, always worth the effort. We could be the first generation that – instead of alienating our older colleagues with progress – embraces them and brings them along for the ride. Don’t forget! Progress waits for no (wo)man and one day we could be the ones out of touch. A scary thought for Millennials, everywhere.
Chris Sanders is a Data and Management Analyst based in the South East of England. He has previously worked in the telecoms industry and currently analyses data for a leading UK University. He blogs about data analysis, management practices, and the modern workplace.
Find Chris on LinkedIn here