Five ways that our connected world is changing how we work

Technology is changing how businesses operate faster than ever before.

Online security

If you run a small business and assume that you will never be targeted by hackers, think again. You may be part of a supply chain that provides a direct route to a bigger organisation.

And if you think that protecting your customer’s data is the job of the IT department then the introduction of the pan-European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May should also make you reassess your priorities.

Firstly, under the new rules, the maximum fine that can imposed upon a business that fails to protect its data could either be €20m or 4% of its global turnover, whichever figure is higher. Even though these figures would only apply in exceptional cases, the fines will still be significantly greater than the current standard.

Also, when a business finds out that a data breach has occurred it will have 72 hours to notify the national data regulator and everyone affected by that breach, otherwise it could also be liable for a fine.


The Fintech industry is revolutionising how an expanding army of self-employed workers can manage their accounts and connect with financial services.

Ivo Weevers is the co-founder and CEO of Albert, which is the UK’s top-rated finance app and allows us to manage our accounts on the move through our mobile devices.

Ivo, who is also a member of IoD 99, says, “Moving around the world has never been easier. It changes how people interact with services. More and more people are becoming self-employed. Setting up a company, communicating at distance, staying connected, working in different locations; it’s never been easier to do.”

Your co-worker

There are a number of bleak reports on the impact that robots will have the future of employment. But those who believe man and machine can work hand-in-metallic-hand will point to the emergence of the collaborative robot aka the cobot.

Cobots are smaller and more flexible that robots and can cost as little as £24,000, which, it could argued, vindicates the prophets of doom. They can carry out the repetitive tasks that can have long-term damaging effects upon us mere mortals such as lifting heavy equipment and advocates say that this frees up humans to be more productive and creative in other areas.

Millennial workforce

According to a report published last year by The Work Foundation, 27 per cent of the UK workforce would choose the ability to work from anywhere over a pay rise, and among millennials that figure is as high as a third.

The next generation of workers, born after 1999, are known as Gen Z. Lucie Greene, worldwide director of the Innovation Group at J. Walter Thompson, has called them “millennials on steroids”.

Green adds, “Generation Zers are a complex mixture of sophistication and wide-eyed optimism. They’re intelligent and confident, and—importantly for brands—questioning the prescribed norms of everything from formal education to gender politics.”

Gen Z has seen what has happened to their older siblings who are working long hours coupled with the cost of commuting and have decided that work is something you do but not necessarily somewhere you go.

Cloud computing services like Amazon Web and Google Drive, along with video conferencing tools such as Slack and Skype, are helping employers meet the demands of the new workforce. Providing them with the tools to work when they like and where they like will become increasingly more important when it comes to attracting the best talent.

The daily commute

There are a number of legal and technical hurdles to overcome before we start seeing driverless cars on our roads. Even so, pilot schemes have taken place in Bristol, Milton Keynes and London.

One hope is that automation will not only change how we work but who we employ. Driverless cars could make it easier for disabled people to get to and from a job and it could free up hours of time otherwise spent at the wheel in slow-moving traffic to turn your car into a mobile office.

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