This post is in partnership with IBM.
Christina Lattimer of People Discovery is who businesses call when they need a jump start. Working as a coach, consultant, and speaker, Lattimer attends to all sorts of organizations to reconfigure leadership and strategies from the ground up. Lattimer, a digital thought leader in the UK, specializes in employee development, nurturing internal leadership at all levels. She's worked with companies both big and small across industries and to great success and has, in her time, encountered agencies who are re-thinking ways to approach business in the digital era.
Her reputation is exactly why we reached out to her for our influencer event we held in London last month in partnership with the IBM #NewWayToWork initiative. #NewWayToWork explores how the workplace is changing in the face of collaborative technologies, and this event specifically highlighted influencers in the UK and Ireland. We hosted an exclusive handful of digital thought leaders to discuss innovations, challenges, and next steps.
While Lattimer wasn't able to join us in person at the event, she did answer a few of our questions about these issues.
Business at the Speed of Digital
Lattimer says the biggest change to the way companies work now is the pace at which they work. She recounted the nearly impossible to imagine days of doing business that involved snail mail, letter-writing, and telephones. She estimates that these days, "the amount of work I get through now has probably risen 20 fold if not more."
And what is the effect of the huge increase in the amount of work one employee can get done? Lattimer says employees are now tasked with matching that pace of work with a quicker pace of thinking.
"The ultimate effect," Lattimer says. "is that our brain power has had to speed up in response, and we are capable of much greater, more complex change, which, before technology, was unimaginable."
What's a Small Business to do?
In an era where the workplace moves faster and more efficiently than ever before, small and mid-sized organizations can get lost in the shuffle. It's much easier for larger businesses to have entire teams whose sole purpose it is align workplace structures and communication strategies with evolving technologies, but, as Lattimer says, "it is especially challenging for small businesses...who may not have the resources larger organizations are able to dedicate to the new technological advancements."
Her advice to businesses, small, large, and in between? Transparency.
"Transparency is essential in a way we have never seen before," Lattimer says. "Employees and customers have access to hundreds and thousands of people via their social media networks. It only takes one bad news story to go viral and suddenly your business might never be seen in the same light. If you don't harness this new transparency to make your mark, others will."
Transparency as it is communicated to your audience must come from transparency inside the organization, and this is a fact that can often get lost as employees and CEOs race to keep up with technology. If you keep transparency at the core of all your new ventures, as Lattimer suggests, you'll be the difference between speedy innovation and smart innovation.
The Employee of the Future: Kids on Smartphones Become Employees on Smartphones
Lattimer says that as we watch our children and grandchildren grow up as digital natives and enter the workplace with mobile technology not as their second nature but closer to their first nature, we should be prepared for mobile to play a bigger role at work.
"I believe the employee of the future will demand the collapse of geographical boundaries," Lattimer says. "Expect remote working to be the norm."
And, if we use mobile and other technologies to do more remote working while maintaining an instant mode of communication, we can also expect to see "less formality" in the workplace. What that exactly looks like in the future is, well, up to millennials. Lattimer says we're "just beginning to perceive it from our current vantage point," but that what's to come will most certainly look different.
However, some ways of doing business must remain the same, right? Yes, says Lattimer: "A successful business needs three great components to be able to survive and these will never change: 1) a great vision which speaks to the greater good, 2) shared values among both employee and customers, and 3) an ability to deliver on promises." Regardless of how fast new technologies make you work, Lattimer encourages organizations to attend to those tenets of business that are both crucial and unchanging.
Are you ready to embrace the future of work? Tools like IBM Verse can help. Guided by powerful analytics to help you prioritize the people and projects you need to focus on, this new enterprise email and collaboration solution from IBM will help free your employees up to focus on what they do best. Learn more at www.ibm.com/Verse.
And to read more influencer insights about the future of work, visit IBM.com/FutureofWork or follow #NewWayToWork on Twitter. We'd love to know how you think work is changing in the UK and Ireland, as well as the rest of the world.