persona per·so·na (pər-sō’nə)  n. pl. per·so·nae (-nē)

The role that one assumes or displays; one’s public image or personality.

When you’re looking into the future of your company’s product roadmap, you’ll want to take note of our recently refreshed personae research. In 2013, we here at Plantronics conducted a study of 2000 knowledge workers in the U.S. France and Germany. The purpose of this was to stay ahead of trends in the workforce, and to segment certain styles of work, or “personae”, to hone in on how different people work best. This research was so successful with positive impact on our product development, marketing, messaging and large end user customer interactions that we refreshed the study earlier this year (2017). In the refresh, we not only doubled the sample size but also added key markets. In addition to the U.S. France and Germany, we added Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Sweden! In doing this, we looked at what has changed in the original countries with the adoption of UC, and focused on the impact of Millennials – a group that’s grown from only 12 percent of the workforce in 2013 to almost 50 percent in 2017!

The study was conducted on the premise that when users are comfortable with their devices, and if their devices fit their workstyles, they’ll be more productive and happier. So, it stands to reason that personae are a key factor to consider as we aim to match workstyles to devices and technologies. Not everyone works in the same manner or likes the same devices. Business users expect technologies that allow them to personalize application settings, interfaces and other capabilities, and to let them easily work where they choose.

Some really interesting things came to light out of the updated research. Eight different personae were uncovered, six of which map directly to demographic groups appearing in the original findings. Also, two new segments were identified, reflecting recent workplace and technology developments. But one of the most notable things we discovered in this update was that Millennials are found in each and every one of the eight personae. Specifically, they are primarily found in the three most mobile, flexible personae: Office Collaborator, Flexible Worker and Connected Executive. The other notable item is that every persona cited ambient noise as one of the top three negative aspects in the workplace! This is of course due to the global trend towards open office environments.

The fact that there are more and more Millennials in the workforce affects the way we work in teams and do our focus work. As the results of the refreshed study show, an office-based-only approach is no longer an option. Today’s employees have a variety of needs, depending on their role, task and preference. Of course, the generation influences certain preferences, but the way we work every day is an equally important factor.

Businesses need to understand how they can support their increasingly mobile workforce to become more successful themselves. Even if Millennials are more in tune with new technologies than other demographic groups, this doesn’t mean that they are the only group interested in more productivity and flexible work. No matter if the employee was born in 1985 or 1955, today’s workforce must be equipped with the necessary technology to enable their most seamless productivity, regardless of whether they work in the office or on the road.

For more information on personae and flexible workstyles visit here.