In practically an overnight shift, the concept of business continuity radically changed with the outburst of COVID-19. Until recently, businesses assumed they could only keep up their operations if working from physical offices, and perceived productivity hinged on that very notion.
After the digital acceleration of the pandemic, however, more than a few companies – and many industry giants – are adopting remote work as a long-term standard.
There’s no doubt that technology plays an extensive role in the way we work, but this role is likely to become even more dominant in remote work as it continues to evolve.
The current digital transformation centers around accelerated problem-solving for teams and businesses – and within that transition are remote work challenges like virtual team building and distance communication that set a precedent for virtual organizations.
But as the business world continues to evolve, technology will only keep extending the capabilities of remote teams. Here are some of the most crucial ways in which technology is shaping the future of remote work for companies and industries worldwide.
Fully Virtual Practices
Technology has certainly empowered virtual communication to the point where meetings, onboarding, and other activities require no physical overlap. As it continues to progress, an increasing number of practices that once required physical exchanges can now be replaced with virtual ones.
The mobile-first generation has led companies to the point of sending virtual rewards and monetary compensations in the form of a virtual MasterCard or Visa that is prepaid and can be delivered to the recipient in mere seconds.
All they have to do is access it online, and they can start enjoying contactless payments – which eliminates all shipping costs and delivery delays.
Similar practices like virtual document signing, online program installation, and online processing are removing the necessity for in-office visits or mail delivery.
Hybrid Communication Tools
For the longest time, organizations believed they thrived under the implementation of a defined communication structure, but modernization is slowly discrediting this notion.
Not only has remote work proven that physical spaces are not a prerequisite for effective communication, but its tech tools have also introduced new and improved ways for teams to collaborate, work, and succeed.
Virtual collaboration apps offer smart communication channels that allow teams to share materials, collaborate on projects, create to-do lists, sync calendars, create visual collaboration boards, and stay up-to-date on virtually any project or task.
While there is no specific technology that provides a 360 hybrid work platform, there are plenty of suitable options for almost any team or industry.
Increased Team Communication
Although this may sound counterintuitive, the physical distance may bridge communication gaps instead of widening them. As we are brought to rethink the way we work and communicate, digitization is rapidly accelerating our options, but also our willingness to communicate. In fewer words, hybrid communication tools allow infinitely more room for inspiration.
The days where everyone’s best ideas were birthed in the same room are slowly coming to an end. Mastery of asynchronous communication empowers teams to create, share, and realize ideas as inspiration arises, and not solely on demand.
With employees adding (to) thoughts on digital platforms at any time and from anywhere, the quality of work rises, and collaboration is strengthened by the fact that all ideas are heard and communicated at any time.
Since companies worldwide were pushed into a remote work structure, they had to figure out how to solve the same problems under new circumstances. This shift led to improved online support for employees and customers, faster communication channels, virtual service desks, and the automation of many tasks that were deemed labor-dependent.
By accelerating and streamlining so much of their operations, businesses can double down on projects where time was previously a scarcity. This rise in productivity is thus twofold and will only keep increasing as technology advances.
Employees Will Upskill On Their Own
Not only is technology changing our environments, but we are undergoing a technological revolution that is rife with AI and automation. On the flip side, this raises efficiency across industries at record-high levels, but it also poses the question of how many jobs could theoretically be automated. As workers enter the new era of remote work, they may have to upgrade their skill set to adapt to new demands.
While organizations are getting more comfortable with remote workers, the competition for employment will also get fiercer since candidates will no longer be competing with the local crowd but a global workforce.
Thankfully, technology has allowed for remote learning as well, as courses and degrees are widely available to online students and employees worldwide. As companies are dedicating resources to training their teams, employees should do the same for themselves.
Although there is no concrete method to predict the future, the current technological trends in the workforce provide incredible insight into how technology will continue to impact and shape remote work.
The transition to fully virtual practices, hybrid communication tools, increased team communication, rising productivity levels, and the likely need for employees to upskill on their own are indications for the modern “design” of virtual offices that is becoming a reality.
No matter your trade, it’s vital to stay on top of these trends to set your business up for future success.