The COVID-19 disruption has completely overhauled the entire business landscape by actively driving significant workplace transformations.
Who would’ve predicted that most major companies will be making the bold move towards establishing remote work as a semi-permanent reality for their entire workforce? In the last couple of months, we have seen new workplace trends that would have otherwise happened over a decade.
While organizations were already prepping for a digital-first future with the adoption of AI, analytics, mobile connectivity, cloud, and other cognitive platforms, the pandemic has accelerated the implementation of such technologies. And this acceleration of digital transformation is aimed not only to ensure operational continuity in the short-term but also to prepare for an uncertain future and thrive in the new normal.
In times like these, leaders must brace themselves for massive shifts in operations and strategic goals, and its impact on how businesses get done. To gain a better understanding, let’s have a look at the five major future of work trends you can expect post COVID-19.
5 Major Future of Work Trends to Expect Post COVID-19
1. Going digital in a hybrid working model
A survey by Gartner reveals, “ 48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after COVID-19 versus 30% before the pandemic.”
As organizations adopt a hybrid workplace model, one that involves part of the employees working from the office while the rest work from home, leaders need to devise new ways of working to ensure employees are productive whether they’re working from the office or in a remote environment.
By acting as a one-stop-shop for all the workplace tools, it reduces the time to access apps and search information and boosts employee productivity.
An intranet provides personalized content recommendations based on the employees’ profiles, locations and interests. It facilitates effective organizational communication with the help of collaboration features like blogs, communities, project management tools, and group conferencing.
Additionally, organizations need “virtual water coolers” – an online version of the traditional water cooler in the office that allows employees to have informal discussions on ideas and stay updated on the latest news. An intranet acts as a virtual water-cooler by enabling people to stay connected through idea management tools, social networking tools, discussion forums, and dedicated team sites.
If you are looking to centralize your remote working processes and transform how you collaborate, communicate, and share information, you may be interested in exploring our autonomous SharePoint intranet “Mesh 3.0”.
2. Augmenting Humans with AI and Technology
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought another glaring need to the forefront: ‘augmented intelligence’ – the concept of supplementing human effort with artificial intelligence and technology instead of completely replacing humans.
The crisis has shown how humans and machines are more powerful together than on their own. Manufacturing, telemedicine, education and essential goods delivery are some excellent examples of the power of human-machine collaboration during the crisis.
Once the return-to-workplace begins, organizations have an opportunity to take this integration to the next level. Leaders should retire the view of using technology as an augmentation strategy instead of a substitution strategy. This enables organizations to not only streamline costs but also make work more productive and meaningful for employees.
3. Facilitating New Ways Of Working With Low Code Apps
The onset of the pandemic has compelled us to fight unprecedented business challenges, adopt new ways of working across functions and transform existing workflows. In order to facilitate this, adopting new and different types of applications is a must. And this should be done quickly.
This has put enormous work pressure on the IT department to develop solutions to meet the changing business needs.
To infuse agility in operations, organizations must adopt Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAP) that empower business users to develop apps with little or no coding knowledge.
LCAP is an interactive platform that replaces traditional programming with visual techniques, such as drag-and-drop interfaces, to allow users to experiment and build professional-grade apps in a matter of days.
In fact, research has estimated that low-coding can reduce development time up to 90% in some instances. Organizations looking for LCAPs can consider looking into Microsoft’s PowerApps. We’re helping clients deploy several low-code apps for a variety of use cases using PowerApps.
4. Enabling a contactless workplace with voice technologies
As employees prepare to return to the office, companies must invest in voice technologies to provide a safe and healthy environment. It’s no longer safe to touch even everyday objects like doorknobs.
Voice-activated controls can be utilized in office entry and exit points, elevators, meeting rooms, shared office devices to reduce the amount of physical contact needed to navigate in the workplace.
Use cases like integrating meeting room equipment with voice-enabled virtual assistants like Microsoft Cortana, Alexa For Business, Google Assistant will become more popular. With these integrations, employees can give voice commands to perform tasks like managing meetings, and controlling conference room devices and settings – temperature and lighting, etc. Last year, one could have thought of these as “nice to have” but these are now imperative for a safe workplace.
5. Leveraging workforce data to assess key employee metrics
In the face of a digital revolution amidst the pandemic, another pressing need that has emerged is the access to future-oriented workforce data.
As the workforce moves towards a hybrid setup, organizations must capitalize on the power of data to gauge employees’ capabilities, the state of their physical and mental well-being, and how the new methods of working are reinforcing the organization’s culture.
To facilitate such processes, HR leaders must prepare a list of critical questions that they need to ask to gain the required insight. Moreover, organizations must have the right analytics technologies capable of leveraging the data to truly get a sense of what is happening across functions.
Are you prepared for the future workplace?
As difficult as it is to predict the end of the virus, what has become certain is that the new normal will not look like the old one at all.
As the pandemic resets routine workplace processes, leaders need to carefully assess each trend’s impact and implement the right technologies to pave the way for futuristic working methods. Digital platforms, such as an Intranet, are the way forward to ensure effective communication and information-sharing throughout the organization. Low-code application platforms drive agility in operations by facilitating the quick deployment of solutions to address different organizational needs.
Moreover, artificial intelligence and data analytics gain immense popularity as organizations scramble to gather workforce insights.
Hence, organizations must aim to build a resilient workplace, one that is equipped to deal with the realities of business post-COVID.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with one of our digital workplace consultants for a personalized consultation.