If necessity is truly the mother of invention, then a pandemic might be the mother of transformation. This isn’t meant to make light of COVID 19 – the virus has taken countless lives and sunk the worldwide economy. Leaders, both in government and business, have scrambled to ensure that life continues to be as “normal” as possible while protecting our health and safety.
But any major adjustment, inherently, means that things will no longer be “normal”; things are now different, forever, until we need to adjust once again. And one of the aspects of the “new normal” is how we work. Remote work is here to stay.
Before the pandemic, most of us understood the critical role that technology played in our ability to work, to accomplish tasks with efficiency. But since the arrival of COVID 19, it’s dawned upon us that technology wasn’t just critical, we couldn’t do much without it. So in 2021 we have new expectations for our relationship to work and our employers. For now on, remote work won’t be a possibility, it will be an option.
That is, it will be an option if a company wants to remain competitive and retain their talent. How does that happen?
To begin, all new technology implementation will need corresponding Change Management processes. Since remote work is now a company-wide option, organizations must develop strategies to ensure efficient workflow and mass adoption. You need to deeply understand how certain technology and devices will not only promote efficiency around remote work, but will also foster larger company goals. Change Management helps to increase productivity, avoid unnecessary spending, and ensure a smooth transition to remote work.
Despite many employees now being remote full-time, many executives split their time between home and corporate offices. It’s necessary for making high-level corporate decisions. This dual work setting means that executives need collaboration technology at either location. So as part of the new normal, executives should be equipped with the appropriate technology solutions. For the busy executive in constant meetings, this means being equipped with features that simplify their experience like 1-touch join. The solutions should also include company branding and sophisticated digital backgrounds.
Overall, organizations must develop a mix of technology to accommodate collaboration for both remote and hybrid work scenarios. But it’s more than fostering the ability for everyone to be seen and heard – true collaboration means access to shared content, whiteboards, live captions, and meeting recordings. On that note, meeting rooms now include cloud-based AI to take head count, enforce social distancing, transcribe meetings, and eliminate unwanted background noise. These features are essential for all organizations with a significant remote work force.
Productivity was enough of a challenge when everyone worked in the same office. With remote work becoming more the norm, leaders will have to develop new ways to measure work performance. They will have to keep their eyes on accountability while honoring employee autonomy. So-called “warm metrics” will play a role in this balance of freedom and responsibility. Plus, IoT data will inform measures of performance by leveraging systems and dashboards. Analytics will convey how employees utilize their time, which will allow management to create clear goals and responsibilities. At the same time, companies must be sure to make technology choices that align with their long-term collaboration goals.
To create this new remote work ecosystem, companies must think holistically and go beyond specific categories like Wi-Fi and hardware. They have to consider the devices and technology that will deliver the highest level of collaboration. Every technology investment must not only align with the way the company works today, but also with their collaboration needs well into the future. Because remote work is here to stay.