How do employees deliver value today? In most cases, it’s through technology. With the rapid pace of work, everyone demands more speed and bandwidth to work faster, collaborate more effectively, efficiently manage large files and give and receive feedback faster.

It’s not just Millennials who are changing the working world – although they do play a part (59% say that state-of-the art technology is an important factor in considering whether or not to accept a job). The pace of work, the type of tasks being performed and customer expectations are changing what employees need from workplace technology.

Here are just a few things that today’s evolving workforce expects:

1. Flexible/Mobile Work Options

Today’s evolving workforce is on the go – or at least not chained to desks from 9am to 5pm. “Mobile” doesn’t just mean working from home or the local coffee shop. It means being able to make patient notes in real time at the bedside. The ability to monitor building system performance while attending your daughter’s gymnastics meet. Easy access to customer order information from a hotel during a business conference.

Mobile devices and cloud-based applications provide access to information – anytime and anywhere – to help employees be productive away from their desks, desk phones and desktop computers.

2. Process Automation

Through system integration and collaboration, employee productivity can be increased when repetitive, tedious tasks are handled automatically without human intervention – leaving more time to focus on important responsibilities and strategic initiatives.

An example: If your access control system can communicate with your surveillance system – and with your mobile device – then an alert can be sent when someone without access tries to enter through a certain door. Because the access control system is integrated with the surveillance system, the camera “knows” when someone approaches the door and attempts access, so the event is recorded and can be reviewed.

3. The Chance to Choose

Giving employees the option to work the way they want can make them more productive – they get to use the technology and devices they’re most familiar and comfortable with. BYOD (bring your own device) has allowed the evolving workforce to bring in their own phones, laptops, tablets and other devices with them to work.

4. The Ability to Communicate without Restriction

Even as recent as a few years ago – and still status quo in some cases – companies blocked certain applications, devices, file sizes and types, etc. from being used or transmitted. The reasoning behind it was often: The technology infrastructure isn’t there to support it.

But, at work, 41% of Millennials prefer to communicate electronically rather than face to face or via phone. This means that they need access to other types of communications tools: email, instant messaging, social media tools, unified communications, videoconferencing, texting, etc. And they want to send, receive and collaborate on high-definition, high-resolution files quickly – without restriction.

5. Wireless – Everywhere

This is pretty much a given, especially considering some of the other expectations listed above. But it’s still worth mentioning that the evolving workforce expects to have network and Internet access no matter where they are within the workplace: private offices, collaboration areas, cafeterias, parking garages and even outside.

Preparing Your Network

So what do these things mean for your network? To put it simply: More demand! All of the expectations of the evolving workforce – mobility, automation and integration, BYOD, communication tools and wireless – are made possible through the network.

If your network isn’t prepared to support these things, it can become overloaded, creating bottlenecks, slowdowns and other issues. Your layer 0 – the cabling and connectivity infrastructure – will ultimately determine whether your organization can handle the influx of evolving workforce demands.

Belden can help you design a layer 0 that supports the needs of today’s evolving workforce – and what they’ll ask for tomorrow. Learn more.