Five Major Barriers to Modern Workplace Adoption and how to overcome them

Friday, March 6, 2020

For a business to thrive, it needs to change, evolve and move with the times. Though businesses can be set in their ways, using the same processes and same way of thinking as they did 20 years ago. Even though technology has changed drastically over the last two decades, some companies prefer to use things they find familiar, comfortable, easy. So, we've pulled together the five major barriers to modern workplace adoption and tips on how you can overcome them.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? While this is true in some cases, for a modern workplace to take hold, our way of thinking (as humans) needs to change. So, we've pulled together the five major barriers to modern workplace adoption and tips on how you can overcome them.

1. Siloed Mentality

Approximately 50% of the companies surveyed in the Harvard Business Review said that a siloed mentality was the biggest barrier to achieving a modern workplace. While that’s a huge percentage, is it all that surprising? Perhaps not. Statistically speaking, workers are the most averse to change. In the age of virtual machines, AI and robotics, we want to make things easier for ourselves while keeping things ‘as they were’. Sometimes we choose to do things the hard way because it’s the one we’re most comfortable with. So, when a new software solution comes along, we immediately raise our barriers.

The Solution: Give employees a clear value proposition that details how you can make them more productive or collaborative. Suggesting a tool like Microsoft Teams to encourage collaboration and motivate real-time productivity will enable employees to embrace the changes.

2. Lack of training

30% of companies identified (Harvard Business Review) that newer ways of working often get a bad rep when there’s limited training available. This is particularly felt by SMBs, who believe that their time is better spent supporting the business.

The Solution: In this case, training should be organised in smaller ‘drop-in’ sessions to minimise disruption. Smaller sessions serve as a great refresher for long-service employees too.

3. Legacy Systems

Although cloud technologies are slowly beginning to penetrate smaller businesses through the SaaS business model, there is still reliance on older, legacy systems. 45% of those surveyed by the Harvard Business Review believe that this is the second biggest barrier to achieving a modern workplace, just behind the siloed mentality.

The Solution: Collaboration is the key to delivering an effective business growth strategy. Plan your migration in stages, moving to cloud solutions like Office 365 for email and co-authoring of Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents not only brings people together, it connects ideas and inspires creativity.

4. Risk-averse culture

A leap of faith can be a daunting prospect for many businesses. But taking risks is part and parcel of growing a business, without those risks you may get left behind. 38% of companies believe this is one of the biggest hurdles to a modern workplace.

The Solution: Understand your business and those employed and encourage everybody to share their ideas in a creative session out of their usual working environment. A change of pace and location often gets the creative juices flowing. Modern workplace tools like Teams, Trello or other pin boards help organise ideas and bring them to the surface.

5. Legacy Processes

Old ways of working and processes that haven’t seen a shift to flexible, remote policies are why 40% of companies believe they are one of the major barriers to instilling a modern workplace culture. Got a website from the 90s? Not only is that a major security risk, it’s also the face of your brand.

The Solution: There is no shortage of modern workplace tools available. From web-based collaboration to on-demand video and conferencing, working flexibly and remotely is no longer only accessibly to Enterprise business. It’s perfect for the smaller business that’s trying to find its feet.


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