Let’s start here – “things” will not go back to normal. Normal has left the building, literally and with it has come the arrival of new work trends like ‘location independence’ and ‘hybrid work. We are seeing a whole new normal in how people work and how the technology space enables that forward progress. For those who think 2020 was a difficult year to manage work and the technology needed to support that work – the next decade has a surprise for you – it’s going to get even more challenging.
In 2020 we saw an entire knowledge workforce change to remote work; everyone was on a level playing field – all remote all the time. That made tools and technology challenging at first but then we all settled in using our home networks, UCaaS platforms, and new hardware for the win.
Moving forward we won’t have it quite so easy; we will have to balance these new work trends and the technology needed with increases in cost to serve and major focus on the real cost to protect all that data in motion. With location independence and hybrid work comes new challenges at every level in every part of the organization. Technologists will be asked to find the solutions, design the work environments, and drive the innovation for an entirely new generation of work.
This will mean an uptick in spending on AI enabled platforms that can detect where work is being done and utilizing technology that allows for an enterprise headquarters for example that is open to hoteling to sense the needs of the worker coming in that day. Additionally, since the virus is here to stay these very same building will also need to be able to perform health checks using systems like Turing Video to identify temperature, condition, and identification to protect those working in a facility.
But the spend on remote technology won’t go away; with close to 50% of workers believing they will work remotely in some capacity we will still need to stay invested in remote hardware, connectivity, software, and services that support that remote work. In fact, human augmentation to overcome remote employee obstacles will become common place. Network improvements brought by 5G will also change work from home; there will be much less low bandwidth issues when firms like T-Mobile are offering home internet on 5G that can outperform much of the nations slow and low bandwidth issues for work from home. And of course, we will need to see continued investment in security to defend all that corporate data moving around the network will be common; solutions like Privafy will be widely implemented to help protect data in motion.
In fact, this is a leadership lesson – and these new ways of thinking about work will be both a strength that can lead us through these very trying times, and a challenge to encourage us to adapt and adopt new technologies that aid in the transition. Technology leaders will need to lean into the trend, define how their firm will manage an evolving workforce, and work swiftly to deliver the needed technology. The alternative? A nimbler and tech savvy competitor will find a way to provide what is needed to enable this new work reality and the top talent in your industry will follow the technology leaving your firm quite frankly in the dust. This is the new world that we live in. This is our challenge. This is our opportunity. Go forth and make it happen and you will thrive, fail to harness this trend, and face the consequences. As leaders that is our choice – may the work trends be forever in your favor!