2020 was a tough year in many ways. But it’s also taught us a vital lesson: how to work smarter.
The pandemic has accelerated the journey to modern work. Lockdown and social distancing forced IT departments to adopt technology that allowed employees to work in new ways – ways in which fixed location, fixed hours and fixed devices became less important.
Now, traditionally office-based employees are more likely to begin their day in an open-plan kitchen than an open-plan office. Contact centre agents are taking customer calls in their lounge. And frontline hospitality, healthcare and retail staff are using new mobile devices and collaboration tools that allow them to work safely and effectively, either remotely or within an adapted environment.
The changes have shown us the advantages of a more modular, blended approach to a day’s labour. We can see a path towards a world in which many of us will work more convenient hours, from a location that suits our lifestyle, and with technology that empowers us rather than frustrates us.
Work can fit around our lives, rather than the other way around.
It’s an enticing future. But we’re not quite there yet.
Many businesses are struggling with the aftermath of such rapid change. They’re worrying about security now their IT assets are in suburbia. They need to rationalise their recently enlarged IT estates. They’ve realised their vast technical debt hampered their ability to be agile. And they’ve accepted that their ‘quick fix’ changes may have to become something more permanent.
So what’s the next step?
Businesses know new hybrid ways of working can lead to competitive advantage through better employee engagement, enhanced productivity, greater collaboration, cost savings and being able to attract top talent.
So they have to reimagine their workplaces for the long-term. The quick fixes have to become long-lasting solutions. And business leaders have to ask themselves how they can make their employees feel empowered, and invested in, while maintaining productivity, collaboration, innovation and security.
It’s a conversation that inevitably leads to technology. And that’s where we can help.
Working with Microsoft, we’ve outlined some thoughts on the challenges facing CIOs in our new insight guide The Great Workplace Reset, which you can read here. We’d love to know what you think.