What is a modern workplace?

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How do you define a modern workplace?

Is it a working environment that is set up with the most advanced technology?

A company that invests in sophisticated IT security?

A company that collects and analyses data to their advantage?

One that embraces automation, cloud-based computing and AI?

In a word, Yes. 

But the modern workplace is about far more than technology.

The modern workplace is about using the best tools to help teams reach their full potential.

The modern workplace is about adapting to shifting attitudes to work.

The modern workplace is about creating an environment that champions collaboration, supports a productive work, life balance and even promote equality and ethics.

Is your workplace modern?

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Think of your business.

How would you describe your culture? Your environment? Your infrastructure?

When you think of your business processes, what words spring to mind?

Structured? Rigid? Outdated? 

What about inefficient? Taxing? Or costly? 

As enterprises evolve into the digital age, business decision makers are realising the power of modernisation, and the positive effects of promoting modern workplace initiatives. 

Ask yourself, where does your business fall on the scale?

Are you fully embracing advancements in technology, mobility and workplace culture like modern workplace superstars Google, ZipCar and Unilever?

Or are you dragging your feet and at risk of being left behind?


Traditional workplace

Modern workplace

Rigid 9-5 working hours

Flexible working hours

Strict office environment

Remote and mobile working initiatives

Dated legacy technology

Cutting edge technology that supports collaboration and communication

On-premise infrastructure

Cloud-based computing

Reactive, outdated security measures

Advanced, proactive security, designed to protect against sophisticated threats

The trouble with traditional workplaces

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Quotation mark 

‘The traditional office is no longer the most productive environment for today’s workforce’

Rich Ellis, director of Microsoft’s Office Division in the UK.


Before the days of Office 365, the cloud, the internet, or even plug-in computers, offices had to adhere to certain criteria.

Without connectivity, employees had to work side-by-side.

Important files were kept on site, under lock and key.

Employees clocked in and out of the office, and their productivity was measured by the amount of hours they put in.

The workplaces of the past made do with what they had. They were limited by a lack of resources, connectivity and technology.

But you aren’t.

In a world of automated cars, cryptocurrency and augmented reality software, why should we work in the same way we did 50 years ago? The world has evolved and its time our workplaces did to.

Not only are rigid working conditions outdated, but studies have shown they are no longer productive.

  • A 2016 survey found that only 58 percent of workers feel engaged at their job.
  • Only ten percent of millennials working in finance plan to stay in their current job.
  • The Conference Board reports that 53 percent of workers are currently unhappy at work.

The UK has a productivity problem

Image-4-Modern-Workplace-TThe UK has a productivity problem

British employees work the longest full time hours in Europe.

And yet we are some of the least productive. 

While, studies show working long hours are a risk to health - anything over 39 hours a week is considered too high for optimal wellbeing - the quality of our work is at an all time low. In fact, it’s getting worse. 

  • The average EU employee works 41.4 hours a week - the UK worker 42.8.
  • According to Eurostat the UK’s productivity level is at 101.1, by contrast Germany scores 105.5 and France 114.5. 
  • UK productivity is 1 percent below the average for the rest of the G7.



Building a modern workplace with the best tools

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Quotation mark 

“You cannot mandate productivity, you must provide the tools to let people become their best.”

Steve Jobs


The office of the future is equipped with the very best tools. However, as technology is constantly evolving, the definition of this evolves with it.

Strategies can change depending on the type, size and capabilities of your business. You may not have the resources to invest in every emerging technology or passing trend, so focus on what your business really needs and what your key objectives are.

Are you wanting to improve efficiency?

Lower costs?

Improve collaboration within your teams?

Improve data privacy and security?

Make informed data-driven-decisions?

Currently, IoT, advanced data analysis and cloud computing are three of the largest areas of investment in worldwide technology adoption strategies.



IoT solutions can aid all areas of business development - from creating safer payment transactions to improving customer service.

  • The global IoT market is set to reach £241 billion in the next five years.
  • By 2025, it’s projected there will be over 75 billion connected devices worldwide.
  • 94 percent of business who have an implemented IoT device have already seen a return on their investment.


Advanced data analysis

Advanced data analytic techniques such as predictive modelling, allow businesses to fully utilise their data to better understand their customers, make informed financial forecasts and protect against risk.

  • 36 percent of organisations see predictive modelling as the most important area for investment.
  • 43 percent of businesses who have implemented predictive modelling techniques have experienced a significant positive impact 
  • The predictive analytics market is expected to grow by 22% by 2020.



Cloud computing

Once reserved only for elite enterprises (with the resources and space to house a private cloud infrastructure) cloud computing is now an essential part of the modern workplace. Cloud computing strategies are now considered a business-critical necessity.

  • Public cloud adoption rose by a staggering 92 percent in 2018.
  • 45 percent of users cite improved security as their top cloud benefit, while 41 percent cite increased efficiency.
  • By 2020 it is estimated that the majority of predictive analytics deployments will take place in the cloud.
  • 88% of businesses who have adopted cloud computing have reduced their IT costs and 56% are seeing direct profit boosts

Digital transformation

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Quotation mark 

‘Productivity is the engine of human progress—it is what propels our society forward. The promise of technology is to help us get more done, with less effort.’

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft


Digital transformation is a hot topic in the professional world. In fact, the digital transformation market revenue has skyrocketed in the last five years, as businesses from all industries begin to invest in technology to aid their processes.

Digital transformation goes hand in hand with modern workplace initiatives -  after all, technologies such as cloud computing, automation, IoT and AI aids a businesses’ modernisation efforts. When businesses embrace these revolutionary advancements they are able to create environments that promote employee engagement, aid efficiency, lower costs and boost productivity.

Digital Transformation by the numbers:

  • 80 percent of businesses that have undergone digital transformation report increased profitability and employee satisfaction.
  • 44 percent of these companies cite better customer relationships
  • 36 percent state that IT transformation has helped to strengthen the competitiveness of their products and services
  • 35 percent have experience increased efficiency or lower costs 

But how can technology have such a transformative effect on a business?

How can a computing system boost engagement, employee morale and productivity?

Shifting attitudes to work

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Quotation mark 

‘The way I think about culture is that modern humans have radically changed the way that they work and the way that they live. Companies need to change the way they manage and lead to match the way that modern humans actually work and live.’

Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO


As businesses modernise, many are saying goodbye to outdated practices.

From rigid working hours to constrictive office spaces, enterprises are starting to distance themselves from restrictive ways of working. And as more and more businesses see the true power of these modern workplace initiatives, the revolution has only just begun.

But don’t take our word for it, let’s look at the facts:

  • As of 2016, 3.25 million people now work flexi-time.
  • 75 percent of workers surveyed believe working remotely has a positive impact on their productivity.
  • The direct messaging service Slack, commonly used in modern businesses, has improved productivity of its users by 20-40 percent.

What does a modern workplace look like?

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As well as boosting efficiency and productivity, the modern workplace could be promoting equality amongst working parents and people with disabilities. 

  • Dave is working from home today, he has a meeting later with Sandra, so they’ve scheduled a Skype for Business
  • Julie and Mark are collaborating on an important presentation with Office 365, thanks to the multi-editing features they can do it while Julie is on the train.
  • Kate is using the company’s IoT device, the data she collects will be analysed internally.
  • The data team are hard at work using Azure’s Machine Learning features to help forecast the financial year.
  • Although Sandra has a new baby, her flexible hours means she can work in the office and at home when she needs to.
  • Jamal has MS but thanks to the office’s remote work initiative, he can work from home when he can’t make it into the office.

What’s the deal with remote working?

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Quotation mark 

'We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.'

Richard Branson


Thanks to cloud-based applications, remote work has finally become a practical option for thousands of UK employees.

Nowadays, you don’t have to chain employees to their desks to get work done - they have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere.

Thanks to easily accessible applications, employees can access their files from the comfort of their own home, balance work with a healthier lifestyle and sustain both professional and family commitments.

And this arrangement isn’t just putting a smile on the face of employees. studies have found that remote working has a positive effect on workplace productivity, employee trust and employee retention.

Let’s look at the facts:

  • The average UK worker wastes 60 - 80 minutes on their daily commute.
  • 90% of remote workers plan on working remotely for the rest of their careers.
  • Remote working reduces employee turnover by 25 percent. 

Is it time to introduce BYOD to your business?

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Quotation mark 

‘Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub but also the bridge to the physical world. That’s why mobile will affect more than just your digital operations – it will transform your entire business.’ 

Thomas Husson, Forrester Research Vice President


Bring Your Own Device initiatives are an ideal strategy for any company looking to introduce remote work. 

Thanks to the advanced security built in to public cloud platforms, it’s never been safer for employees to work on their own computers, tablets or even phones - resulting in a flexible, mobile workforce that doesn’t put your sensitive files or data at risk.

Let’s look at the facts: 

  • The BYOD & Enterprise Mobility Market worth 54 Billion pounds by 2021
  • 87 percent of companies allow employees to use personal devices to access business apps.
  • 69 percent of IT decision makers are in favour of BYOD

What do millennials want?

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Quotation mark 

‘I'm very encouraged by millennials and their drive to make the world a better place.’

 John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO


Today’s millennials will make up the majority of the workforce by 2025 - showing it’s never been more important to appeal to their values in order to attract the best talent.

Studies have shown that out of all the age groups millennials value the option of remote work the most, are looking for a job with purpose and regard diversity and inclusion critical factors. 

Establishing yourself as a modern workplace - one that promotes a healthy working culture, uses technology to aid efficiency and values flexibility and freedom - is an ideal way to attract fresh talent.

But what are the stats?

  • 53 percent said they would work harder if they knew they were making a difference to others.
  • 62 percent of millennials want to work for a company that makes a positive impact. 
  • 85 percent of millennials state they’d like to telecommute 100 percent of the time.
  • 75 percent of millennials believe that working remotely has a positive impact on productivity.
  • 42 percent of millennials are likely to change their job each year.

Data is the new oil

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Quotation mark 

‘In God we trust. All others must bring data.’

W. Edwards Deming, Statistician


Data is ubiquitous.

Everywhere you look enterprises are collecting data in the hopes of gaining customer and business insights.

Data analysis is now considered one of the most integral parts of running a competitive modern business. However, a bank of data is useless unless you have the power to analyse it, understand it and visualise your findings.

The modern workplace makes the most of data-driven practices. It uses it improve critical business decisions and future-proof your company. 

Big Data by the numbers:

  • 61 percent of businesses are using their collected data to improve relationships with their customers.
  • 59 percent of businesses are using data to improve decision making.
  • Big Data’s current market revenue is at a colossal 31 billion pounds.

Inspiring examples of modern workplaces

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There is no cookie cutter method for the ideal modern workplace.

There are so many ways to embrace change and future proof your business. Be it, investing in better technology or re-evaluating your employee policies.

The point is: examine what is important for your business, your employees, your goals and build a plan from there.

Feeling inspired?

Let’s take a look at a few businesses who have commited to change and innovated their digital workspaces.



Ride-sharing service Zipcar, moved away from traditional their desktop workspace in favour of mobile working. 

Despite becoming a trailblazer in the sharing economy industry, the creators found that their desktop-based experience no longer reflected the modern user or their company culture.


In a bid to modernise, Zipcar got rid of their rigid office structure and promoted a more mobile business.

By enabling their employees to step away from a traditional desk setup and embrace mobile technology, Zipcar gave their team the gift of agility. Their employees can now work from home, complete tasks on the move and step away from rigid working environments.


The UK Department for Work & Pensions (DWP)

To encourage internal innovation, the DWP launched a gamification platform. The goal of the game was to stimulate innovation by awarding points to users who submitted ideas that could improve working practises. Further points were given if they invested their time to develop these ideas.



Like many innovative companies, KPMG understood the importance of catering to a millennial workforce. With this in mind, the company adopted a transparent communication policy, focused on building a social environment and implemented mentoring programmes.

By engaging in transparent communication and flexibility, KPMG now has a workforce that spans five generations, with millennial employees making up the majority.



Unilever launched an interactive AI programme to help fine-tune their hiring process. Instead of submitting CVs and cover letters, candidates complete a series of neuroscience-based games to measure inherent traits. Successful candidates then participate in recorded interviews, which are analysed by machine learning algorithms.

By turning to technological solutions, Unilever have revolutionised their hiring process in a time-efficient, economic way.

Parting words

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Quotation mark

‘We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.’

Buckminster Fuller


As we know, the world of work is changing at rapid speed.

  • The way businesses make decisions, connect with customers and complete their processes is evolving all the time.
  • Attitudes to work are constantly shifting. Employees expect more flexibility, mobility and a deeper focus on their work, life balance.
  • Millennials are a different breed of worker. They have strong ethics, change jobs frequently and strive for purpose.

The way we live is evolving - the way we work should reflect this.

But, as a business owner, it can be a lot to take in. Where should you be focusing your efforts?

Here’s what you need to remember:

At the forefront of the modern workplace is technology. It is thanks to the digital revolution that these incredible developments are even possible.

Without telecommunication, remote working would be too challenging 

Without advanced IT, security BYOD would be impossible.

Without the cloud, the modern workplace would simply not exist.

However, investing in state of the art technology will only get you so far. To create the office of the future, businesses must fully embrace the attitudes of the modern workplace.

The modern workplace values flexibility, innovation and employee empowerment. Above all, the modern workplace sees change as an opportunity, not a threat.

Ready to start building your own modern workplace? Discover how our SmartPath program can streamline your journey.