We do not live in silos. We live together in an interconnected world.
Our information highways link buyers, sellers, clients, producers, economies, into a consistent global ecosystem. But our embrace of technology has always been somewhat haphazard. Lately, you may have even heard of catalyst events – edging us permanently into an age of remote working, and real-time digital collaboration.
But I’m not interested in what kinds of technologies will power our lives. What drives me are the thought processes, behaviours, and habits we can expect in the future.
As for entire industries, will this mean that throughout the next 5-10 years, companies will continue production at distances sometimes hundreds of kilometres from their head office? It could become apparent that we will behave more locally, to ensure social distancing. This could have an impact on our supply chains. Ultimately, the factory, as well as the office of the world, may become a thing of the past.
Here are some discussion questions for the world beyond the storm.
- Will we resume face-to-face conferences with clients?
- Will the working world successfully strike a balance between meetings and mitigations?
- Will we enter a sanitary utopia, priming with plexiglass, and glistening with aloe gel?
- Will we instead retreat into our sanitary bubbles?
Technology is the conduit for this newfound behaviour. Therefore, I will be sure to share innovations, as well. After all, these are helping us to navigate uncertainty, monitor our productivity, and enlighten our balance sheets.
Taking Extraordinary Measures
Many businesses have suffered shortfalls in demand due to the volatility of global disruptions. However, as resume business, and enter recovery mode, organisations remain vigilant as to the hazards ensuing due to the pandemic. In many cases, companies are experiencing siege mentalities, whereby overcaution and excessive protocol could prove detrimental to efficiency.
There is no doubting the need for hygiene protocol. However, in many cases, limiting numbers of staff, goods, or resources, could prove devastating to productivity. In short, businesses are making transformations, but at what cost, and how long can measures ensue?
How Will We Sustain Them?
A similar situation is now beginning to unfold, as we #StayAtHome.
Working professionals now thrive from within their own walls, powered by extraordinary technologies. Who would disagree? We can achieve anything with cloud computing, video messaging, and real-time document collaboration. For now, it seems many companies have been able to find shelter from the logistical storm.
But working from home is a newfound reality for many, across the world. Our reliance on technologies has left us with security issues, overburdens on digital infrastructures, and even mental wellbeing.
Commercial Real Estate managers may face tenants demanding decreases in rent. These rented spaces may also need to be reduced in size and be restructured. Home offices may play a more significant role too. Employees could demand higher payouts to compensate for the home office space and consumption of amenities within the home.
Let’s also remember that many companies will have to leave their confines and resume pre-pandemic movements and meetings.
So what scenarios are now possible?
Scenario 1: Return to a New Normal
Telebridging in this aspect, will empower the workplace and personnel. It will also help to reduce their reliance on close contact with people, and objects.
As we resume our pre-pandemic activities, we will base them on official guidelines. Workers will enter a sanitary office, adorned by automatic doors, RFID entry gates and storage lockers, and mobile applications with desk reservation functionalities.
Plexiglass and regular decontamination are a possibility for many populated offices. However, chances are, workplaces will feel less crowded, with one-way walkways, fixed workgroups, and distancing measures in-place.
As social distancing will require participation in company-wide initiatives, users will take liberties with their personal data, to enjoy access to convenience-centric applications within the workplace. The insights gained from new applications will help users locate available spaces, book conference rooms, and address equipment issues from the palm of their hand.
Scenario 2: #StayAtHome – Same Difference
A full embrace of telebridging technologies, and a long-term stay-at-home economy will emerge.
For many companies, working from home has been an experiment. In many cases, this has deemed successful enough that some firms will permit, or even encourage workers to remain at home.
This is possible with the likes of Microsoft 365, or communications apps, such as Zonifero. Users will work from their homes, parts of which will host permanent workplace ‘zones’. Employees and teams will be able to communicate with unprecedented ease.
Such a segue is taking shape, owing to technologies. In fact, these modern digital solutions now underpin the productivity of our jobs. They make us better workers.
Conference calls are made possible through Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Zoom. But their effectiveness will become a competitive playing field. As the market broadens, these technologies will be held to higher standards. Many technologies are already surging with popularity. For that, providers have been likewise praised and criticised for their handling of newfound demand.
Glitches are notable in Skype, WhatsApp, Teams, or any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Usually tolerated, consumers will hold providers to account with greater scrutiny, as they seek the highest possible quality of service.
Scenario 3: Delayed #DigitalTransformation
Some companies will fail to adapt, millions more will act too slowly.
The digital economy will continue to feel a strain, as demand for connectivity will outstrip supply. Telecommunications providers will struggle to boost bandwidths, as our internet and data consumption reach unprecedented new heights.
Streaming services, such as Netflix, offered to reduce video quality to ensure a consistent supply of content. Many online providers will follow suit. Conferences may require scheduling during ‘off-peak time’ data periods to ensure interruption-free calls.
Cyber threats will continue to plague companies and individuals. Many will be due to unsecured IP address locations, or through untested online services. Companies that eventually update their digital protocols will begin to recover and reorganise.
Your scenario depends on your embrace for telebridging. As an organisation, you will attempt to maintain a safe and secure working environment. Digital transformation has already taken shape, and will likely power the future of companies, post-pandemic.
- Scenario 1 depicts a world where it will be safe to return to the office. Digital workplace applications will be instrumental to ensuring a touch-less, sanitary, and compliant workplace.
- Scenario 2 regards work-from-home as the new normal. To best succeed here, ensure an emphasis on mobile, and cloud-based technologies to keep employees motivated, and productive.
- Scenario 3 presents a cautious scenario where disorganised workplaces risk compromising quality and productivity. Companies that engage with up-to-date technologies will endure and thrive.
Will the world embrace remnants of the old, but powered by modern technologies ensuring safe social distancing? Or will our behaviours in-fact favour closeness, and local production? On the one-hand, offices may function online, owing to high-functioning applications. On the other hand, manufacturing and industry, which demands a robust supply chain, may avoid exposing itself to future risk.
Offices may shrink, and restructure, as will the need for home offices. Each scenario depicts a select attitude, whereby technology will serve an essential role in underpinning productivity. How will our views endure is yet to be seen.
With this said, how do you envision the future of the modern workplace? What behaviours will take precedence? What will be the leading technologies powering our digital economies?