With the explosion of information on demand, popularity of social media and growing investment in technology in the workplace, the working lives of the next generation to enter the workforce will be very different to the experience of the majority of today’s working population.
Rachna Raghupathi is a third year undergraduate at Singapore Management University (SMU) and has spent the past year with Polycom as an intern on a part-time basis, whilst continuing her studies to major in Political Science and Corporate Communications.
In this guest blog post, Rachna shares her experiences of working at a company like Polycom that has built a flexible, collaborative work-culture at its core, and reflects on why video-enabled working is shaping her thoughts about employment.
As an undergraduate already looking out for places to start my career next year, I’ve been thinking not only about the industry and type of organisation I would like to work for, but also the culture of work within different companies. My time at Polycom has shifted my thinking towards something focused much more on flexibility and the use of video communications.
Here are some reasons I believe that people my age will think flexible working hours and the right kind of business technology tools and software are a necessary part of any job they start:
1. Freedom in organisation and management of time at work
I think it is important to be able to be evaluated on the quality of my work, as opposed to the quantity of my hours at work. Flexible working arrangements take the focus away from countable, collected hours, and draw much more attention to the work being done and submitted. I like knowing that we are being assessed for what we’re doing, rather than thinking we are assessed by rote.
I also don’t think people realise that flexible working, when offered as a choice to employees, rarely functions as an “excuse” to stay away from the office. As a whole, it is easy to see that people tend to prefer spending time with their colleagues and working with them face-to-face - something I’ve seen throughout my time here. However, it is nice to know there is a functioning alternative that does not involve any real compromise on teamwork or quality of work. Better yet, it’s a relief to know that the video communication being used maintains a greater level of engagement, keeping everyone visibly involved.
I don’t think people expect the level to which my generation relies on being able to access everything we need, whenever we can. It’s why I gravitate towards cloud software - I need to know I can access files from work, university, and home across devices. It’s also why flexible working schemes have been particularly resonant with me: it’s not a matter of being able to work without being in the office, but of being able to work without being restricted by time or place.
This also means that I can work on my projects according to what I want to be doing at any point of time, without being affected by the resources or help that I have at hand. My productivity depends on external circumstances, and this allows me much more control.
3. Team Presence
There are additional benefits to this kind of accessibility that I only really understood after working with Polycom for some time. I like that I can reach my work, my e-mail, and my colleagues, even if I may not be in the office. I like that, with the right kind of software, I can rely on my colleagues to be immediately responsive, and to give me the support I can need.
I like even more that colleagues will believe that I can also be relied upon: that the work I am doing can be easily seen and recognised as mine, and that I can work to support them, as well. Video calls in particular call for a level of dependability that demands full attention
This extends towards other resources, as well: for example, I’ve seen how useful it is to have face-to-face meetings with teams in offices in other countries, keeping everyone on the same plan, maintaining valuable, collaborative discussions, ensuring that everyone is fully immersed.
There are other reasons video communications have become of greater importance to me lately. I care about the environment and about social causes, as do many of my friends, and it is nice to be able to work without wasting money on travel costs where unnecessary. I care about time, and about maximising the use of it, and it is nice to know I need not travel to places or wait for other things or people in order to work to the fullest of my ability. Ultimately, I know several people who cannot feel truly satisfied unless a job is aligned to their own beliefs and work ethic. Video collaboration allows people my age to feel much more in control.