They’ve started to infiltrate workplaces across the globe in the form of interns and work experience candidates and it won’t be long before offices everywhere are invaded. Yes, the MySpace generation is preparing itself to enter the world of work.

It’s inevitable. It has been on the horizon for years and it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but are organizations ready for a new way of working? The students sitting in today’s lecture theatres are accustomed to being connected anywhere, at anytime. Life without a cell phone is inconceivable, not having access to the Internet is unbearable and the thought of buying a photo album may have never crossed their minds. After all, what’s the point if you use Flickr or have a Facebook profile?

Blogs, Twitter and other social networking tools have enabled the MySpace generation to forge identities online and participate in a constant stream of communication. These tools have also changed the way in which they consume information. Today’s graduates are used to flexibility, openness and collaboration and, when they walk through the doors of their new office, they may be in for a shock.

According to global research by Cisco, more than half of IT decision makers ban the use of social media applications in their organizations. So, any graduate dreams of using these tools during work hours to help with research and projects will be promptly crushed.  Working openly with teams across your business, and indeed any partners outside of your office walls, may also be the stuff of fairytales. Traditional software often reflects the traditional organization – you have department, department, department and there’s little communication beyond these silos.

In a nutshell, the MySpace generation isn’t used to constraints. Being restricted by an IT department, having to work at the same desk from 9am to 5pm, and not being able to use the tools they consider the best and most effective for the job will be an alien experience for them. As changing an organization’s policies and approach to working will not take place overnight, what can be done to pave the way for this new generation of worker?  Here are a few points to consider:

  • Get ready to be more flexible:  While cloud computing challenges the traditional boundaries of an IT department, it has numerous advantages.  To access the majority of cloud computing services, you simply need a web browser.  Communication tools such as Skype and Windows Messenger and cloud-based email and word processors enable staff to access information and work from anywhere.  It is this flexibility that the new generation of worker will be familiar with, so it may be time to start considering alternatives to traditional software.
  • You might be missing out: Is your organization really using the best tools for the job or have you become so entrenched in traditional software you can’t see beyond it? You may be missing out on a chance to find the best tools for the job and stay ahead of the game. Why not research SaaS pricing models and lightweight apps with agile development programmes?
  • Have confidence in your staff, policies and security:  Barring social media tools in the office sends out the signal that you don’t trust your staff. You could also be missing out on a wealth of benefits.  With the right policies and security measures in place, staff can access real-time information, engage with customers and communicate more effectively with business partners.
  • Be prepared to learn:  The MySpace generation live and breathe technology.  If a new worker suggests new tools that could be used to make the working environment more efficient, productive and effective, why not take note and consider whether deployment is viable?

Our panel discussion at Internet World, London, was on the topic of what happens when the MySpace generation goes to work and whether organizations were ready for a new way of working. Watch this space for video footage!

Lucy Wimmer

Director of Global Corporate Communications


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