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How companies can get it right with young talent

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As more millennial workers assume management positions, they will shape future workspaces and they already have solid ideas of what that the workspace looks like. VIDESHA PROOTHVEERAJH, Intel Country Manager for Southern Africa, highlights three key ideas on how organisations can retain millennials.

Millennials – those born between 1980 and 2000 – will soon outnumber Generation X workers and will form 50% of the global workforce by 2020. As more than one-fourth of millennial workers assume management positions, it’s fair to say that they will shape future workspaces and, based on the findings of the recent Dell and Intel Future Workforce Study, they already have solid ideas of what that workspace looks like – and the poor office dog does not feature.

This shift is forcing companies to relook how they do business and how they integrate technology into their operations if they want to attract and retain millennials, who get bored quickly and who value work-life balance and the latest technological solutions to help them get the job done.

The Future Workforce Study highlights three key ideas on how organisations can get it right:

1.       Keep up with global technology trends

The study found that if businesses want to attract quality talent, they need to create smart workspaces that meet employees’ technological needs. Millennials and remote employees were found to be the most future ready when it came to smart technology, with 63% of those surveyed in South Africa expecting to work in a smart office in the next five years.

What is a smart office? It’s one that incorporates technologies like the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality to not only improve productivity and collaboration but also for smart office planning, like directing new employees to the nearest printer or maintaining office temperatures at optimum levels.

Millennials are always on the go but they identified slow and ‘glitchy’ technology as their biggest time wasters. While most respondents said technology within their companies was satisfactory, they also said it was not cutting edge and, in some cases, was not on par with the technology they use at home. Millennials expect technology to help them work smarter and faster, not slow them down.

Bottom line: If you want to attract and retain the best millennial workers, aim to replace workplace technology every three to four years. You’ll also save money as PCs older than four years have 25% higher repair costs than newer PCs.

2.       Offer flexible/remote working arrangements for work/life balance

Given the fact that we are living in an ever increasing mobile environment, working remotely will continue to become more prevalent.  Therefore, technology is a major deciding factor for many millennials when it comes to accepting job offers because it supports remote/flexible working arrangements. While two thirds of remote workers and half of office workers say their jobs are becoming part of their core identities, they still view their work and social lives as mostly separate – at 73% and 81%, respectively.

Millennials want to be able to work from anywhere, at times when they are most productive, which is not conducive to the ‘nine to five’ workday. For this to be a feasible option for employees, they require access to smart technology, as it has a big impact on their decision to either join or stay at a company. This has become apparent through the research, with 30% of workers saying that they will quit their jobs if the technology does not meet their standards and 80% saying that the technology available influences their decision on whether to take a new job.

In fact, 75% prefer high-tech perks over low-tech perks like a ping pong table, free food and an office dog, and most would choose working remotely over a promotion and a fun office culture. The biggest concerns with remote working, however, were the potential for work to encroach on their personal lives as well as not having a relationship with colleagues.

Bottom line: The future workforce will be mobile, supported by an array of digital technologies that enables employees to securely work and collaborate from any location, at any time. The ‘nine-to-five’ grind is slowly giving way to the best time for productivity, which is different for each individual and is further fuelled by a growing mobile and global workforce. Millennials are more adept at working remotely and have linked this to happiness at work, presenting an opportunity for businesses to empower and retain employees.

3.       Use smart technology smartly

Smart workspaces embrace new technologies that make it easier for people to connect, collaborate and better accomplish workplace goals. The majority of South Africans are open to the idea of virtual and augmented reality in the workplace with the biggest selling points being training on new skills in realistic virtual environments, problem solving with 3D visualisation, presentation, collaboration and communication.

While millennials are more likely to use augmented and virtual reality products – with 60% seeing a potential use for augmented reality in the workplace – they are also wary of the potential of these technologies to lead to unemployment through job automation.

Bottom line: Allay fears of job redundancy by encouraging staff to use new technologies to innovate and come up with new products and ways of working. Fifty-nine percent of South African respondents – 72% of them remote workers – already believe that augmented and virtual reality will make their jobs easier, and they are already expecting a shift – 75% believe they will be working in a smart office that uses the Internet of Things in the next five years. Businesses can address the challenges of a changing workplace with the latest tools and technologies to gain a competitive advantage. The key is to focus on experiences that are enabled by these new technologies.

Technology is driving massive change within organisations today, affecting everything from how workers attract and retain the best people, to where and how they do their jobs, to how they communicate and collaborate. Those that use the latest technology will ensure the highest levels of productivity and be better able to compete effectively.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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