Alexandra Levit

“The office isn’t necessarily a physical location anymore.” – Alexandra Levit, Business & Workplace Author, Speaker and Consultant

By Alexandra Levit

(From the editor: This article was originally published on the blog, Alexandra Levit’s Water Cooler Wisdom. It is republished here courtesy of Alexandra.)

Yesterday I traveled to the Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation in Rochester, N.Y., to talk with my partner Xerox and visiting press and analysts about the future of work and office technology. Given that the office isn’t necessarily a physical location anymore, both software and hardware must be configured to be used effectively and efficiently by a growing virtual, mobile and contract workforce. Whether you are an enterprise or an SMB, here are the must-haves for your technology.

IoT and Mobile Operations

Technology must be accessible anytime, anywhere, by both full-time and contract workers. Mobile phones must be able to seamlessly communicate with other devices via the Internet of Things as well as any onsite infrastructures and systems, and users want to automate complex processes with a single touch or action. And, all of this must be done with minimal intervention from IT as these professionals can only assist so many people at once.

Remote Collaboration

In 2016, flexwork is king, meaning that the days of the majority of your employees working together in the same location are likely numbered. But technology must facilitate virtual work in which it’s just as easy and productive to engage with your colleague in Japan as it is with the one in the cubicle next door. Technology must be agile, with the ability to support new collaboration apps being developed on the consumer side or via in-house citizen development.

Secure Workflow to and From the Cloud

When it comes to intellectual property residing in the cloud, security remains the biggest concern. Organizations want their data stored in a central location and accessible by everyone who needs it, but documents must be managed in a way that is controllable and protects them from internal and external threats and breeches.

Customized to the Individual

Employees have variable needs and every individual has his or her own way of doing things, so mandating a certain process for using technology is a surefire way to hinder adoption. Tomorrow’s office systems must be personalized so that whether you prefer to print via mobile or manual methods or scan via email or QR codes, you’re covered.

Despite the obviously increasing sophistication of office technology demands, according to IDC, 40 percent of smartphone users and 35 percent of tablet users don’t even know how to print from their device. So, as an example of new office technologies that address these demands while also simplifying solutions for the individual, Xerox has just released the 14 Xerox ConnectKey enabled i-Series multi-function printers (MFPs). In order to accommodate a diverse mobile workforce, the MFPs are designed with an intuitive user display with ready-to-use MFP applications right on the interface.

In particular, the Mobile Link app lets users create one-touch, automated workflows on their mobile devices to remotely control a Xerox MFP and transmit documents to fax, email and cloud-hosted services like Box, Dropbox and Google Drive. And, perhaps most importantly, the new MFPs have secure print and scan encryption so companies can ensure that documents remain confidential.

What new technologies are helping you be more productive at work?