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As more and more enterprises are starting to embrace Virtual Desktop Infrastructure to save costs, tighten security and improve manageability and compliance as well as give their employees more device flexibility and accessibility options, many fail to consider the generational change in the workforce that is happening right now. 

In just four short years from now, millennials are expected to make up over half of the workforce! Despite the hysteria around the (lack of) workplace etiquette, according to a workforce survey, the biggest difficulty that managers report about working with millennials is not the often ridiculed need to take naps during team meetings, but finding and retaining millennial talent!

While both older and younger generations have the same general goals when it comes to their workplace (e.g., a manageable work-life balance, making an impact with their work), the biggest differentiator between both generations is workplace technology! Enterprises have to face the fact that their workforce will include this younger and much more tech-savvy generation in spades and they'll have to adjust accordingly.

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Below are the three biggest millennial-related considerations you should take into account when planning your VDI strategy:

Cutting-Edge Technology Vs. VDI Misconceptions

Their use of technology is what sets millennials apart from the older generations the most. They are the first generation to grow up with technology always available and accessible to them. Often, they were the ones who had to explain it to their parents. They always have used technology to set themselves apart among their peer groups as well — always hunting for the latest tech gadget.

Now that millennials enter the workforce, they are expecting cutting-edge technology. In fact, 59% said that employer-provisioned, state-of-the-art technology was important to them when considering a job, according to the report titled Millennials at Work.

According to the same study, many feel that their potential future employer does not understand their use of technology or is held back by outdated workstyles. If your organization is pursuing server-hosted virtual desktops, this might be counter-intuitive for many millennials who might expect the latest MacBook instead of a Windows-based Thin Client.

Addressing the technology component early on in the hiring process and explaining the benefits (e.g., work from anywhere, even your favorite coffee shop or a hip co-working space downtown) will dissipate any preconceived notions of outdated technology and will help you hire and retain younger employees. 

Bring-Your-Own-Device/Apps (BYOD/A)

While some millennials expect their future employer to supply their laptops and phones, many would rather be able to bring their own devices. Now this does not mean that every employee can come with their personal laptop and carry around sensitive corporate data, access the company-internal intranet without any restrictions, or install any application they feel like. Enterprises must enforce strict security and compliance policies.

However, it is possible for IT to align the seemingly contradicting goals of providing more flexibility while tightening security by hosting desktops on servers to provide employees safe access from personal PCs, MACs, and tablets.

Your VDI Has To Be Lighting Fast, Or You Will Lose Productivity

Having grown up with video streaming and binge watching TV shows rather than waiting for them every week, millennials are not used to waiting. They expect instant gratification. So when their computer is slowing down or makes them wait, for example, when you log-in or open a very large file, the younger generation is easily distracted.

In a study from 2015, 55% of millennials said they would use the time to go to the bathroom or get a drink, while 45% would chat with a co-worker. An astonishing 28% stated that they would make a personal call, play a game, go on Facebook or do some other personal activities, while only 29% said they would use the downtime to do something productive and make a work phone call. 

Considering the potential loss of productivity that results from only a 60-second delay, it is crucial to ensure sufficient capacity and performance of your VDI servers to deliver your employees lightning-fast speed and experience!

Conclusion

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure can bring many benefits — such as more control over installed applications and software license savings — if done right. However, as you are planning your VDI strategy or improvement on your current infrastructure, you will have to keep the demands and needs of your changing workforce in mind. Otherwise, you may struggle to hire and retain young talent.

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Barry Angell

Written by Barry Angell

Barry is a co-founder of Juriba, where he is focused on using his experience in IT migration to help drive product strategy, pre-sales and service delivery. He is an experienced End User Services executive that has helped manage thousands of users, computers, applications and mailboxes to their next IT platform. He has saved millions of dollars for internal departments and customers alike through product, project, process and service delivery efficiency.

Topics: IT Strategy Windows 10/Desktop Migration Virtual Desktop Infrastructure