There is endless debate on social media about the future of work and remote work, in general, post COVID-19. While it is certain that we will not be going back to how things were before the pandemic, there is still a lot of uncertainty about what is to be expected and how it will benefit businesses, employees, and the corporate ecosystem at large. How will businesses and the workplace transform in preparation for the new normal?
There is bound to be greater adoption of technologies that help accelerate workplace processes. The exponential increase in the adoption of cloud computing technologies during the pandemic is a testament to this fact. And this digital transformation drive in companies will continue to happen as more and more companies realize the importance of workplace flexibility and mobilization of work even in the midst of something like a pandemic. The disruptions we will see at work will more likely be in tune with the need for greater flexibility to continue business from anywhere. Today, remote work is a reality and quickly becoming a standard way to do business. If social media is any indication of what’s trending at work, we see recruiters increasingly offering a hybrid work environment for prospective employees.
Virtual conferences and meetings, work collaboration tools, online document sharing and management, project management tools, e-signature solutions, etc. all have supported and continue to support remote work. E-commerce has been around for many years now, but the pandemic has forced renewed focus and adoption of e-commerce sites to promote business. Everyday, well-established companies stuck in the brick and mortar business are making the switch to e-commerce and online shopping. Added to this is the acceleration of e-learning sites and virtual schooling.
A recent opinion poll also suggests a majority of the workers, especially the ones employed in traditional office jobs, no longer want to adhere to the standard ‘9-5’ model of working. But the most significant change that has come about as a result of the ensuing pandemic is that traditional jobs are out, and new jobs will be created. And technology and intelligent automation has a lot to do with it. The increasing adoption of enterprise software and office automation over the past year has paved the way for new jobs and rendered obsolete many typical office jobs. Traditional back-office staff responsible for handling routine, repetitive jobs like data entry, order processing, mailroom operations, etc., are slowly being replaced by intelligent automation bots, giving rise to new age automation-driven process and business management. But this transition to automated working models is not confined just to the office.
Many companies are finding real, tangible value in automating those tasks that take up a lot of human labor and time. New age automation trends are increasingly being noticed on the factory floor and supply chain, and all critical touch points along the customer order fulfillment chain. Reaching out to the customer first has never been felt more strongly than during the pandemic, when social restrictions impeded customer engagement efforts greatly. With greater adoption of technology though, there has been an uptick in different customer engagement methods. Technology also facilitates increased employee engagement. Retail, sales, and service sectors like the food industry will witness the greatest amount of digitalization. In all, the future will be one of skills-based and technology-based recovery.