I was having a discussion recently about what a different experience it is to be entering the workforce nowadays compared to just twenty or so years ago. It used to be that employees starting a new job would meet with some sort of state of the art new technology. They’d be trained to use that equipment on the job and then go home every night to more tech-deprived surroundings. (In fact, I remember asking one of my first bosses if it would be OK to use the office photocopier to make a couple of photocopies for a non-work, personal project.)
So when I read Martha Irvine’s AP piece, “Young workers push employers for wider Web access” I completely understood. Because the office where I work is sometimes slow to evolve with current technology (partly due to efforts to maintain client security and confidentiality), I see the exact scenario when younger employees come on board. Let’s face it, they’re used to having all sorts of innovative tools, whether at home or at school, and coming to a work environment where they suddenly have to make do with slower connections or limited Web access just isn’t tenable. I’d go so far as to say that they consider the company old-fashioned and not competitive if it can’t (or won’t) maintain the latest equipment available.
If employers are going to stay competitive, they have to give their employees some leeway. The article mentions employees huddling around the water cooler or making personal phone calls. Employers have to deal with those challenges and will have to do the same with evolving technological advances. If an employee’s productivity suffers from overuse of Web access for instance, then there should be repercussions. There’s no reason to hold back the company’s entire workforce due to the poor choices of a few individuals.
This story, "Younger Workforce Demands Innovative Tech Tools" was originally published by Computerworld.