Make no mistake about it, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we work and the unprecedented event of our recent global pandemic has pioneered the most remarkable shift in digital innovation we have ever witnessed. In our masses, we have retired to home working with tower block call centres and large footprint office spaces fast becoming redundant rentals and unnecessary financial resource. Within weeks and months at the very start of the pandemic, companies and employees from across the world adapted to a digitalised way of working.
Microsoft teams, Zoom, Slack and Skype, all now revolutionising company and consumer communications on a striking global level. In next to no time, we have fully embraced digitisation, and not solely for the purpose of home working. Like never before, we are witnessing the fastest increase of technology-led solutions as artificial intelligence, robots, drones and cloud capacity gradually epitomise the ‘new normal’. Whilst much of this rapid acceleration has been steered by quick digital fixes, the reality is that many of the changes we’ve seen emerge from this pandemic are likely to remain for years to come. What engineers, business leaders and big tech companies are all learning from these digital experiments and new-found solutions begs us to ask the pivotal question – how will we work in a post-covid world?
Well, for many, the future of working will be facilitated by remote digital technology and high-end home office solutions. Companies and organisations have acted quickly, with research suggesting that in some cases, the move to expand digital offerings to both internal staff and consumers has accelerated by an average of 7 years. The monumental explosion of digital innovation has increased the efficiency and productivity of home working and company performance. Unsurprisingly, big tech companies are leading the way in the evolution of remote working and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook, predicts that approximately 50% of Facebook employees could be working remotely in as little time as just 5 years. Twitter publicly disclosed that all of their employees are welcome to work from home indefinitely and have pledged financial budget and resource to accommodate for remote working technology and home office solutions for staff. Jack Dorsey, CEO, Twitter, says that “Twitter are a global company that require global perspective” and that the fast acceleration of digitisation could offer more possibility to recruit and hire impressive global talent.
Of course, it goes without saying that this unprecedented shift to remote working will invoke a higher demand for effective home office technology. The expectation for online communication platforms to work efficiently is no longer enough. Companies need to look to implement solid technology-led infrastructure if productivity, communications and profit are essential to business operations. Home office spaces will demand more financial budget as remote workers expect seamless interaction and optimised digitisation to improve home working performance. Transitioning staff from open plan office spaces where colleague interaction is unlimited and easily achieved, will demand a fresh-approach to tackle the communication challenges now fast emerging from the pandemic.
Businesses that wish to establish a culture of marginal gains will look to make investments into automation and artificial intelligence as they begin to adapt cost-saving digital solutions into their usual working practice, whilst front-line organisations across the globe will start to optimise the use of robots and AI to diagnose and treat patients and maximise critical healthcare performance.
Even in the wake of these digital advances, not everyone can work from home. Despite the accessibility of e-commerce stores and online payment solutions, the retail sector relies heavily on bricks and motor stores across the world, though in a post-covid world, transformative technology innovations will be needed to reduce risks and maximise safety for staff and consumers. Real time occupancy sensors can effectively measure the number of customers in store and help businesses to ensure they are consistently compliant under COVID-19 restrictions, whilst queue management technology can provide key information such as wait times and necessary queue diversions. In ways perhaps never considered fully until now, automation and artificial intelligence could be the very solution to keeping the high-street trafficked with healthy consumers.
Manufacturing, logistics, factories and warehouses are all sectors that each require real-time footfall. For these industries in particular, it is now about establishing safer work practices rather than retiring to home offices. Staff may be needed in-house to ensure operations can continue to run, but companies and organisations who rely on their staff to be present, must offer solutions to make employees feel comfortable at all times. The advances in thermo-sensing technology can now leverage a combination of camera technology and facial and body temperature detection software, to aid in the prevention of viral spread. Temperatures can be quickly checked, archived and analysed to ensure optimum risk minimisation throughout the workplace.
Automated hand sanitising stations, non-touch technology solutions and allocated seating programs are all digital advances likely to be implemented by each of these sectors, alongside office spaces that will still require some level of in-house staffing.
The future of work is a continually evolving digital progression. For now, we cannot begin to comprehend how the pandemic will continue to unfold but we can be certain that automation, artificial intelligence and technology-led solutions will all become critical tools for combating the spread of disease. The introduction of a vaccine won’t slow down the emerging innovations we are currently witnessing, and we will continue to navigate through our global recovery discovering new ways to implement digitisation throughout the workplace. Businesses that adapt to the fast-moving trends of digital optimisation will demonstrate agility and resilience, whilst those that shy away from innovative application are likely to experience a decline in productivity and profit.
Each month, we will bring you the latest insights on digital and technology advancement, highlighting the challenges experienced in a post-covid era, and presenting the solutions expected to efficiently manage company performance. From thermo-sensing technology, to eliminating unnecessary space sharing and high-end conferencing solutions, SPOR will unveil the latest digital innovations your business should look to adapt in 2021 and beyond.
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