Lockdown orders and mask mandates have been lifted in several states, with many more expiring at the end of this month. The current administration has vowed 200 million vaccine doses by the end of the April, with 56 out of every 100 people already receiving at least one dose. Last month, the CDC updated its Returning to Work recommendations, suggesting it’s safe with the proper precautions (though many companies will remain remote). As more people return to an office and the world begins to slip back into a sense of normalcy, a central question remains: what is the future of work?
Writing in CNN, Kathryn Vasel cites a few lessons learned in 2020 when entire industries were forced to work remotely: meetings aren’t always necessary, the standard eight-hour grind isn’t equally convenient and/or productive for every worker, and sitting at a desk doesn’t equal productivity.
However, we’re about to enter a new phase. Some companies, such as Barclays and Nationwide, are considering a permanently remote solution. Others, such as Microsoft and Reddit, will soon be proceeding with a hybrid approach.
Many companies are considering a drastic reduction in office space as a means to cut costs, reduce their carbon footprint, and adapt to the demands of a remote or hybrid workforce. As not every worker will need a desk, the focus instead will transition to collaborate workspaces and hot desks. Fewer meetings will require less time face-to-face, and collaborative meetings may continue in shared spaces while individual work will be continued remotely.
The transition to remote technologies is as essential as it is self-evident. For example, Yelp transitioned in March 2020 to a fully remote staff. That means, in the course of weeks, the company had to supply and outfit 3,000 employees with laptops. That’s hundreds of manhours purchasing computers and installing software and remote monitoring and maintenance solutions on each machine.
Regardless of your company’s plan, work will not look the same as it did in January 2020.
In a recent report by Qualtrics, four things were found missing while working remotely:
- Spontaneous interactions with colleagues
- Simply being around other people
- Exposure to diversity of people and perspectives
All of this can be fostered in a remote environment using the right tools and an exhaustive approach.
Using the right kind of office collaboration and project management tools is key. Maintaining a high-level understanding of ongoing projects and tasks is important to productivity and time management. Collaboration software and chat tools, such as Microsoft Teams, is vital to maintaining a sense of comradery and cohesiveness. Leveraging mobile-friendly and flexible technologies will ensure your workforce remains ahead of the curve.
Additionally, updating your workflows and equipping your support staff will be essential.
For those businesses that rely on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, creating sensible workflows and browser-based solutions can empower your workforce to remain connected and productive, whether poolside or from the pickup line at their child’s school. As previously stated, the eight-hour grind is not equally productive for every employee. Adapting to this will ensure your workers feel appreciated and avoid burnout. Proper workflows keep projects moving and eliminate tedious legwork. This also provides the executive team oversight from afar. What used to require a stack of papers being shuffled from one department to another can now be directed in Sharepoint, for example, allowing a project to follow an electronic workflow and approval process.
More importantly, as summer approaches, worker burnout mounts, and travel restrictions are eased, workers and executive leadership will want to travel and vacation. IT never sleeps, and your team may need some relief from the strain and headaches.
As your company adjusts to the future of work, you need an IT partner that you can trust. This partner will successfully implement sensible workflows that are your unique to your needs. This partner will also alleviate some of the stress from your existing infrastructure, providing your team with necessary flexibility and breathing room.
To learn more about selecting the right software solutions partner, download our white paper below.