The recent pandemic catapulted all of us into the future of work. But what key trends are emerging and how can businesses turn these to their advantage? This was one of the topics discussed during Intrado’s webinar, The Future of Work Communications. Marcus Schmidt, VP of Product Management at Intrado explored these issues with Rob Scott, publisher of UC Today, the world’s leading technology news publication for UC, Collaboration and Customer Experience.
During the course of the 30-minute discussion, which is available to watch on demand, Marcus and Rob identified five key trends that will be critical to success for business in the short and long term.
1. Digital transformation is no longer a nice-to-have, it has become a necessity
Digital transformation has been high on the agenda of most businesses for over a decade now, but overnight, every business has been forced to embrace it. Practically everyone, from schoolchildren, to grandparents, now enjoys the benefits of video conferencing to overcome physical distance, stay in touch with friends and keep entertained.
This mass upgrade of digital skills and experience provides huge scope for innovation in the future. It takes 60 days to develop a new habit and all of us have developed new habits that will stay with us into the future beyond COVID-19. Video will continue to be big as we move beyond 2D towards virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Companies that are able to fast-track digital transformation will retain an advantage over their competition.
2. Companies that embrace the cloud will stand out from the competition
Before COVID-19, just 20 percent of businesses had moved their communications to the cloud. Now that figure is moving much closer to 100 percent. Businesses that had begun to embrace the cloud were able to respond much faster to the forced change, while others were caught off guard.
Cloud technology will be critical to enabling the distributed workplace of tomorrow, protecting companies against the impact of future disruptions by enabling work from anywhere employees. When technology moves to the cloud, it enables innovation in other areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the contact center, finally bringing multichannel within reach. Businesses that embrace these opportunities will create real differentiators moving forward, enabling them to attract and retain the best talent and provide unique customer experiences.
3. Working from home will lead to a productivity revolution
As a society, we have been talking about the need to introduce more flexible working patterns for many years, as well as debating how videoconferencing can help avoid unnecessary travel. COVID-19 and the requirements to shelter in place have acted as a catalyst to really test these new measures and analyse their impact on workforce efficiency.
Those who have had a taste of working from home – and the opportunity to show their bosses they can be trusted to work from home – will not easily be tempted back to the office. The next challenge will be to make the most of UC and collaboration technologies to streamline communication and collaboration, simplify work processes and boost productivity for remote employees.
4. Forward-thinking organizations will re-think future office space
The COVID-19 pandemic is set to leave a lasting legacy in how companies use office space, and open plan workspaces will likely be consigned to history, as the need to increase distancing and reduce the risk of infection continue to be a priority. Many companies are taking a long hard look at how the workplace can support employees when restrictions are lifted. It is likely that flexible and adaptable environments with touchdown spaces that support collaboration and ideas-sharing with remote employees will become the norm in future.
5. Joined-up thinking will create the winners of tomorrow
The need to ‘operationalize how we distribute teams and processes’ requires bringing more joined up thinking into the organization. Enabling remote working is not just about videoconferencing and online meetings, it’s about enabling teams to collaborate on documents, streamlining business processes and providing secure access to corporate systems from anywhere.
Seamless communication has never been so necessary, recognising the needs of all layers of the communication stack, starting with the user experience, then looking at team experience, customer experience and finally the business experience. Businesses will not be going back to the past anytime soon, but will be looking at how to integrate webcasts, webinars and virtual events into their everyday fabric. The leaders of tomorrow will be those who embrace these changes and translate them into an awesome corporate culture.