This article is part of Raydiant’s new Future of Workspace Series which features interviews with a wide range of professionals and thought leaders to learn more about the future of office space and how the workplace experience will evolve.
What will be the 3 biggest lasting changes to the workplace caused by COVID?
A lot has been said and written about this, but something most of us can probably agree on is that the workplace after COVID will be different. A year into what is probably our generation’s biggest historic upheaval, it’s safe to say that the world has changed permanently, and one of the major differences will be in the way we work.
The future of work has become synonymous with flexibility. People now know what it’s like for their work and personal lives to coexist in harmony, and they’ll probably be reluctant to give this up to go back to the traditional 9-5, office-based work arrangement.
This is directly related to remote working. A year of the most widespread work-from-home experiment imaginable has shown us that employees can be productive, teams can collaborate effectively, and companies can still operate smoothly and remotely. Whilst some were looking forward to returning to the office once they re-opened, the majority of employees still seem to want to retain remote working in one form or another. It is becoming increasingly clear that the companies of the future will operate at least partially remotely.
Finally, the greatest lesson the pandemic has taught businesses is to always be prepared for the unexpected. When the world had to close its doors practically overnight, the companies that survived and eventually thrived were those better prepared for disaster and those who reacted quickly and efficiently. No business will want to run this risk again, and the only real way of preventing this is to always prepare for the worst, way before it hits.
What workplace technologies will be the most important in the years ahead?
A make or break for companies this past year was their digital infrastructure. Companies who were digitally ready to operate remotely did so rapidly, whilst companies with long-made plans to move to the cloud were presented with a recipe for disaster. With a digital revolution underway, migrating processes to the cloud is set to remain on most companies’ priority lists in the years ahead.
Another trend that was sped up by the pandemic is the uptake of AI and automation. These technologies provide businesses with immense potential to grow and transform. Whilst we’re yet to understand the impact these will have on the workplace, it’s safe to say that it will most likely alter it, helping create new jobs and improve the already-existing ones.
This past year has led to the rise of many workplace technologies, but the one that almost all of us have made use of is collaboration software. We’re likely to see an evolution in the features these platforms offer, set to advance in parallel to businesses’ needs, particularly for hybrid work arrangements.
What will the workplace of the future look like?
The workplace of the future will be different, but not as different as we tend to think. What we do will remain, for the most part, the same. How we do it will change. I see a lot of flexibility in the future, with more people working remotely. Most of all, the future should mean a better marriage between work and personal lives. This is thanks in part to all the technology that has made our working lives so much easier during these past months, but also thanks to a continually improving focus on the workforce’s wellbeing. After all, we cannot possibly think about building a strong future on a broken workforce.
What can organizations do to prepare for this new future?
If preparation is half the battle, then the best weapons companies have in this case are its present and its past. Many companies have learnt their lessons the hard way in the past, but using these as your foundations to build a strong contingency plan is key. Always be prepared for the unlikely, and most importantly, keep yourself up to date with the latest developments to adjust your plans accordingly. Do not be afraid to invest in the future, whether that’s tech investment or workforce investment. Finally, embrace this transformation. As we’ve seen in the past months, the companies which were able to survive and thrive were those who adapted swiftly to change; that’s something that is unlikely to change in the future.