At the leading edge of every employee-led workplace technology revolution is usually a handful of motivated people who are constantly experimenting with tools and technologies to improve their work. In the early ‘90s, millions mastered the venerable PC and especially Microsoft Excel – partly because for the first time they could quickly collect and process thousands of data points, present it in ways that they could make sense of it, and make better decisions faster. The result: they could work in new ways that were previously impossible, and they could be more productive and valuable for their employers. In short, these employees were the leaders and innovators in their organizations. 
In 2014, these engaged employees' time and energy is going toward finding tools that will help them stay productive as they become more mobile, and their work and personal lives continue to blend. For example: Desktop computer usage as a percentage of the work day is declining, and for at least one hour each work day, 13% of global information workers now use a tablet for work – primarily so they can get work done from home. Forrester believes that investments in mobility technology will increase through 2015 and beyond.
Together, with my colleagues Christian Kane, J.P. Gownder, Michele Pelino and Christopher Voce, we expect new workforce technology trends to shape the industry – away from the current device management and information security focus, toward more human-centered design principles that will foster performance, engagement, and access. Specifically, we predict that:
  • I&O will get to know flow. The pioneering psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has studied flow for four decades. He describes it as “a pleasurable experiential state that occurs during full-capacity engagement in which an individual is performing at a level that is matched with the demands of the task.” People perform their best in a state of flow. Research in worker productivity reveals that the top 1% of performers in high-complexity knowledge work, such as engineers, systems analysts, and project managers, are 127% more productive than average performers and up to 47 times more productive than the bottom 1% of performers. We believe that firms that favor strict, centralized policies and control of technology resources will fall farther behind their competitors in employee motivation, customer service, and employee retention. Firms that instead favor investments in autonomy and improving information access on the go will have the advantage by increasing employee motivation and performance.
  • Mobile investments will come at the expense of PCs. The mobile mind shift is customers' expectation that they can get what they want in their immediate context and moments of need. The opportunity to differentiate by serving customers in "mobile moments" is driving tech management organizations to invest in mobile technologies for the workforce. Beyond the promise of enabling better customer engagement, mobile devices are additive to the technology portfolio for information workers across industries, so the costs of deploying and managing PCs are now competing for budget with mobile devices. Thus I&O organizations in 2015 will increasingly look to fund mobile investments by trimming the fat from PC management budgets and lengthening PC refresh cycles.
We are also making calls on what to expect in 2015 regarding mobile business app development, management tool convergence, client virtualization, mobile devices, PC refresh cycles and wearables.
If you want to know more about these trends, you can either download the full report or contact us. You can also the see the other 2015 Predictions Forrester has in store over the next few weeks. Do you agree or disagree with the above predictions? What do you think will happen with workforce technology in 2015?