The coronavirus pandemic has turned the working world upside down. There has been an abrupt shift to working remotely, which has forced many organizations to rethink how teams are structured and how work is delivered. Communication and collaboration methods have also changed. Some businesses have had to rethink their models entirely and pivot to other services or solutions in order to stay afloat.
Although phrases such as remote working and tech such as Zoom are now commonplace, are they here to stay? With the rollout of vaccines beginning in some countries, should we expect the workplaces of tomorrow to look more like those of yesterday, with teams based in offices and clients visited face-to-face? The truth is, the future of the workplace in a post-pandemic world is still up for debate but, there are already early signs emerging which suggest that a blend of the old and the new might be most likely. Here are my predictions…
Working From Home Will Continue
Although large companies with thousands of employees all working from home would have been logistically impossible years ago, thanks to today’s technology, many companies can successfully run their businesses from afar with no major dip in productivity or efficiency. Although the pandemic accelerated this change, it now looks set to be here to stay.
Although offices will reopen and for some sectors remote working will be impossible, business owners have seen how much they can cut costs while still working efficiently during the pandemic. This is an attractive proposition for any organization looking for ways to streamline costs and create more efficiency. It’s not just business leaders embracing this change, however. Many employees have also enjoyed the added flexibility, with no long commute, more flexible working hours, and the ability to work from any location.
With all this in mind, we’re likely to see hybrid working on offer too, where people predominantly work from home and go into the office occasionally to deal with complex problems or generate ideas.
Companies Will Become “Digital-First” Enterprises
Hand-in-hand with managing the move to remote working, businesses will need to shift the way they manage their employees to successfully keep up productivity and boost staff wellbeing from afar. Communication with the team as a whole will also need to evolve. This will necessitate “digital-first” enterprises.
On a technology level, expect the use of messenger applications and video conferencing services to aid communication to become widespread. Increased investment in cloud or app software to help with the planning and completion of projects is only very probable. Data will move to the cloud and a range of applications will be utilized to ensure seamless collaboration. At the same time, managers will have to learn to trust their teams more while providing extensive training and tailored support for anyone struggling to adapt.
Furthermore, digital enterprises or businesses, in general, will begin to provide tools for their employees to be able to work comfortably whilst remaining professional when working from home. For example, some businesses are supplying tools such as the new Epos ADAPT 660 headphones which are designed to maximize focus and productivity by using Artificial Intelligence, adaptive noise cancellation, and can also be used for calls, whether using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or your phone. It has microphones designed for the best call clarity. With beamforming technology, communication tools like the Epos Adapt 660 will always make sure employees don’t sound any different if not better than their usual office environment. Employees with children at home can rest assured a noisy household won’t affect their call quality.
Using machine learning developed algorithms, the Adapt 660 also makes sure that the user’s voice is picked up clearly using the three microphones. The Epos ADAPT 660 also has a dedicated button for Microsoft Teams, so one press launches Microsoft Teams on PC via BTD 800 USB dongle.
Cybersecurity Will Become a Top Concern
With more businesses carrying out many of their processes online and storing large quantities of data on the cloud, the post-pandemic workplace is also going to be more focused on identifying, resolving, and protecting against cybersecurity threats. We have already seen the beginnings of this during the pandemic, with reports of attacks increasing. According to the ISACA, cybercrime is the fastest growing crime in America, with the potential to cause catastrophic disruption.
The shift to a digital workplace will mean any breach will carry even larger implications than previously – so it’s a safe bet that cybersecurity training will feature more heavily during staff onboarding, regular audits may need to be introduced and those working remotely will be well versed in tools such as two-factor authentication and VPN networks.