Derek spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication. With a focus on HR, Derek helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor cost in line and build award-winning workplaces. Derek has over 16 years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies like MarketSource and Griswold Home Care.
In 2020, we saw a radical transformation of the traditional office as a pandemic wreaked havoc globally. The resulting "work-from-home economy" is likely to be a mainstay even after COVID-19 is long gone.
This posed a new challenge for both businesses and employees as work from home became commonplace. However, the increasing availability of fast broadband internet, alongside the rise of cloud computing, has provided modern organizations with the infrastructure they needed to quickly adapt to work from home situations.
As a result, SMEs are projected to spend over US$100 billion on collaboration tools, cybersecurity solutions, cloud-based apps, and other remote IT services over the next few years. After all, this technology has become a substantial part of our lives. Schools, colleges, offices, and even hospitals rely on modern tech to ensure that business goes on as usual.
Today, you can work from anywhere, collaborate seamlessly, provide enhanced customer care, and learn skills online. Let's explore how technology changed to make this possible for us.
How has technology redefined work-from-home culture?
You can leverage this tech to encourage training, productivity, mobility, and collaboration. Similarly, leaders can motivate and inspire the employees to excel from literally any corner of the world. Certainly, it has changed things for businesses and how they operate.
Many businesses adopted the remote working culture to keep the operations going. It has been quite a challenge for both employees and employers to adjust to it. While it was difficult for supervisors to manage their remote teams, employees encountered communication problems.
However, digital tools and platforms fundamentally changed the way we work. It enabled consistency and stability and promoted the work from home model.
Here are some of the ways in which technology transformed the work from home culture:
Eradicated location blockades
One of the most apparent ways technology helped is that it eliminated the need for businesses to have a physical office or workplace. It significantly reduced the location related barriers.
With a remote workforce, your employees don't have to work in the same place in order to interact and work together. Technological advancements have made it imaginable for employees to work while keeping in touch with you and others via numerous collaboration platforms and solutions.
For example, Aetna, a health care provider, allows its employees to work from anywhere in the world! With the shift to software tools, more jobs are able to be completed on a computer, from anywhere.
Streamlined communication and collaboration
The need for effective collaboration and communication has heightened with the changing circumstances. Fortunately, technology-enabled solutions have propelled remote team management. It has provided you with a level of interaction never seen before.
You can connect with any of your employees, coworkers, or leaders instantly. The influx of technology allows effective employee engagement and entirely transformed the norms of communication.
No matter how far your team members or coworkers may be, it's easier than ever to collaborate with them. You can send a message, make an audio or a video call through a centralized collaboration platform, and communicate efficiently.
For example, digital platforms like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom have enabled organizations to cultivate an interactive and collaborative work environment.
A unified collaboration platform allows you to set up meetings, exchange documents, communicate, manage teams and projects, and video conference. At the same time, wireless solutions let you connect with coworkers anywhere and at any time.
Provided a sense of autonomy
One of the other ways that technology facilitates remote working is that it provided employees with the opportunity to be autonomous. Autonomy is one of the crucial components to foster employee engagement.
As the employees are freed from office stress and pressure, they can independently manage their time and projects. Without building trust, autonomy is impossible. With flexible, work-from-home scheduling, you empower by sending the message that they command their time, effort, and reward.
Presented opportunities for professional development
Along with the embracement of work from home culture, companies have also leveraged E-Learning and online courses..
While E-Learning has enabled employees to continue their education, it also allows businesses to train and help employees perform better.
Digital content is a valuable resource to leverage. It empowers employees to learn new skills and motivates them to adapt to the work culture's changing requirements. Numerous organizations have implemented eLearning, knowing how impactful and worthwhile it can be.
Interestingly enough, by 2025, E-Learning is projected to grow worth a $325 billion industry. Technological advancements have propelled the learning agility and flexibility of employees—this presented organizations with an opportunity to promote the concept of E-Learning.
For instance, Train4TradeSkills leverages virtual reality to teach trade trainees. It offers trade trainees, like plumbers, a virtual space to practice and hone their skills in a contained set up. It serves as a great platform for them to make mistakes, and develop competence and confidence.
Opened up a global talent pool
With businesses going remote, technology created numerous potential job opportunities for individuals across the globe. With working from home becoming the new normal, it enabled the companies to tap into a vast and diverse talent pool.
Remote work is a great possibility for organizations and employees to connect. Using technology, you can leverage a global talent pool, which can be an effective way to bring people with different attitudes, perspectives, and ideas to your organization.
A diverse remote workforce lets you cast a wider net—tapping into emerging international markets that wouldn't be easy otherwise due to the geographical limitations. Diversity helps you build a more versatile work culture, which can benefit both the employees and the company.
According to Distribute Consulting, most employers that advertise a job opening as remote-friendly see a 3,000% surge in application rates. Today, digital solutions allow you to restructure your talent management and build a more cohesive learning and development for your employees.
One of the best examples for this is American Express, that recruits and reaches out to employees, both full and part-time, worldwide. It offers remote job opportunities internationally. American Express also got listed in the 100 Best Companies to Work For by Fortune in 2019, showcasing how important remote work is to employees.
Made business operations more scalable
It's now possible to run a large-scale business without having a dedicated space. Furthermore, we also see more streamlined processes and operations while increasing productivity and efficiency.
Technology and scalability are intertwined. Scalability allows you to increase efficiency, and profitability, while remaining cost-efficient in managing the increasing workload.
The latest advancements in technology allow you to automate your processes and cope with the growing amount of work while improving your efficiency. These faster processes help businesses as well as employees, making the work-from-home transition smoother and quicker.
Furthermore, it helps you manage the distributed teams much effectively with the help of maintaining ongoing communication and connections with them. Irrespective of their workload, your team can continue to provide timely updates, feedback, carry out team building activities, and do much more. Your virtual workforce is just as empowered as any on-premise staff.
A brilliant example of scalability in business operations is Netflix, that manages to offer high-quality services to its customers while maintaining their efficiency and reducing production costs.
The average workplace is changing at a fast pace, and so are the employee requirements. It's pivotal for businesses to understand the beneficial and integral aspects of technology and leverage it in order to survive and thrive.
Working from home, coupled with the latest innovations, has a long list of advantages for both workers and employers. It enables you to stay in touch with your team, collaboratively work on files, and connect with anybody across the organization. No matter where you are, you are able to accomplish tasks effectively.
And when it comes to how technology shaped and helped with work from home arrangements, the above-mentioned ways are just the tip of the iceberg. It had a profound impact on how the business world functions, and it seems like we'll keep exploring its aftermath for years to come.