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2 minutes reading time (490 words)

Rise of the “New SMB Worker”

Today the nature of work has evolved to an extent that we are seeing the rise of a “new worker”. This new worker has nothing to do with an oft quoted concept of millenials but more to do with the way they work. Let us take an example of two countries: US, a mature market and Brazil, an emerging market. The data below shows that the SMEs in each of these countries have workers that either work from home or travel for work.

And this level of working from home has more than doubled in the last 10 years. In
fact, it took 10 years for telecommuting to double but only half the time period to double again.

What is more important is the chart below showing different applications and
technologies that are being used by employees to collaborate amongst themselves while traveling or working from home.



The above data not only gives us a glimpse of the evolving nature of work but also
points to the rising persona of the “new worker”. This new worker is expected
to work irrespective of location and time, is also more adept at using
technologies such as video communication, smart phones and social networks to
his or her advantage in getting work done. However, business decision makes
should not expect any correlations between the use of such technologies and the
amount of time spent working remotely. This is to say that employees who work
remotely most of the time are necessarily not the heaviest users of these
technologies.  The amount of time spent working remotely actually varies by job role and business decision makers should pay special attention to recognize and enable these new workers.

As new workers slowly become accustomed to easy-to-use, consumer-oriented web
technologies it necessitates changes in the workplace. The IT department, more
than any other department has to increasingly adjust itself, moving from a
command-and-control environment to a more flexible and approachable process
that not only allows adoption and usage of new technologies but also manages
rogue implementations.

Technology will continue to impact the new workers and reduce their dependency on time and place of work. There will also be greater use of video communications, smart
phones and social networks.  However, there is still a long way to go for many of the new technologies to be integrated and provide better, more efficient and seamless collaboration within businesses. We also see many smaller companies starting up by entrepreneurs to develop solutions that provide such integrations and IT decision makers should not be
afraid to try them out.

With the rise of the new worker, businesses should no longer be seen as a
“collection of individuals” but increasingly as a “collections of geographically dispersed individuals”. Notice the plurality in the word collections. IT departments have to seriously alter their processes to account for new work styles, changing attitudes and behavior of these powerful and demanding new workers.

Anurag Agrawal
Techaisle

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