future of work

The coronavirus outbreak has forced companies around the world to rethink the way they do business. Since social distancing has become mandatory, many companies have turned to digital tools for communicating and carrying out their business to keep some semblance of normality. However, many are asking, will this be the new normal for the long term?

One thing is certain; businesses, regardless of their industry, will need to adopt a digital transformation strategy in order to keep operating efficiently in the future. Keeping that in mind, here’s what you can expect when it comes to the future of work – post coronavirus outbreak:

Work from Home: Our New Reality

While many companies in the past have been resistant towards allowing their employees to work from home, the recent outbreak has forced businesses to adapt to the government-initiated lockdown and social distancing measures. While – according to a survey – only a third of employees in the US worked from home before the coronavirus outbreak, that number has risen significantly, with companies such as Twitter, JPMorgan, and Google all encouraging their staff to work from home.

This is going to be a big challenge for many companies when it comes to the future of work – post pandemic; mainly because – while the ability to work from home is seen as a benefit by many employees – there are many businesses that simply lack the infrastructure to offer this capability to their employees. The coronavirus outbreak has forced businesses to rethink their strategy when it comes to “business as usual,” which has led to many companies putting their digital transformation on the fast track to meet the needs of their clients and employees.

While it is expected that some companies could fall back on their previous in-office working routine in the months ahead, however, others have realized the benefits of their employees being able to work from home and are likely to work on ways to streamline the process to make it more efficient.

In the months ahead, we can expect many companies to adopt new technologies to accommodate their staff in their work from home requirements to make working remotely easier for their employees just in case there’s another outbreak.

The Rise of Virtual Events

Due to the recent coronavirus outbreak, many in-person meetings and conferences have been canceled. This has given rise to virtual events. We are seeing many conferences going digital in recent months, such as the Google Cloud Next 20 event, which turned into a global digital event that was free for all to attend virtually. While some companies have been quick to adapt to the new changes post pandemic, we have also seen others that have struggled to cope with this new reality. For instance, Collision, which is a popular tech conference that’s held in the US, was postponed until 2021.

Conferences have been a lucrative industry for many years. They are an efficient way of exchanging ideas and building business connections. The coronavirus outbreak has forced organizers to turn to digital solutions by offering virtual conferences instead. While it is a far cry from the traditional in-person conference experience, these virtual events nonetheless assure a way for businesses and professionals to reach out to build a rapport with other like-minded individuals.

With the success of these new virtual conferences, it is without a doubt that we are going to see more of these virtual events in the months to come, especially if we are still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

A Growing Suite of Digital Collaboration Tools

The rising tide raises all boats. The coronavirus outbreak has had an impact on all walks of life, including the way businesses are run. But it has given rise to a growing number of digital tools that businesses can use to streamline everyday business processes. From platforms such as Zoom that are making virtual conferencing easier, to Facebook and WhatsApp and many others throwing their hat in the ring by tweaking their own services for work-from-home professionals.

In the past week alone, we have seen WhatsApp making a major announcement of its new features that it plans to introduce and that targets the remote working professionals. Facebook has also rolled out its new feature that allows users to host meetings with up to 50 people at a time.

The popularity of Zoom, another video conferencing tool has grown significantly during the outbreak and allows users to host a meeting of 100 people at once, but has a time cap of 40 minutes. Microsoft is offering a free six-month trial of its Microsoft Teams for businesses, hospitals, and schools so that they can operate while adhering to social distancing regulations. Cisco has improved its WebEx tools to support businesses during the outbreak.

Seeing this growing trend of adoption of various digital tools, we should expect more remote working tools to be introduced in the coming months, which will be directed towards helping professionals and businesses streamline their processes.

 

By, Hanane Benkhallouk, Leadership Strategist, Executive Director @ Sustain Leadership & Founder of LeanIn Arabia.

 

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