As the pandemic continues to spread across the U.S., most companies are now hunkering down and refining their social distancing strategies. The “work from home” trend is just beginning.
This has been a significant shift for the U.S. workforce. Before COVID-19, just 7 percent of U.S. employees worked from home regularly. Now, roughly two-thirds of the U.S. workforce is working remotely.
While it’s difficult to predict exactly how the virus will pan out over the next year, a clearer picture is emerging of the post-COVID workplace. We are on the cusp of a much different era, where workers are no longer tethered to their office desks. Here is our forecast for the changing workplace:
Work From “Home” Will Expand
Right now, the majority of companies are in the early stages of remote work. They’re experimenting, building trust with workers, and adjusting their strategies. It’s still very much a trial period.
As time goes on, more places open, and the virus (hopefully) subsides, companies will start to expand their definition of work from home to include working from anywhere. Home offices, in other words, will become remote offices.
Companies that resist this trend, and force employees to return to “the way things were”, will likely face pushback, high turnover, and negative reviews.
Collaboration Tools Will Become Essential
Remote workers need to be able to communicate quickly with other employees throughout the day, exchanging ideas, obtaining status updates on projects, and resolving issues. Conversations that used to take place in the cubicle or around the water cooler still must go on.
For this reason, digital collaboration channels like chat, text, and video, have become the new standard for businesses — even in traditional organizations that have previously resisted using them.
Public Cloud Adoption Will Accelerate
Cloud adoption is surging, as businesses continue to expand beyond their physical borders. Even skeptics have come to see the cloud as a critical business enabler. We anticipate public cloud adoption will continue to accelerate in the coming months, as businesses continue to migrate core services away from legacy systems.
The Gig Economy Will Grow
According to Gartner, 32 percent of organizations are planning to replace full-time employees with contingent workers in order to save money. The gig economy is quickly growing, and teams are being forced to adapt.
For example, leveraging transient workers requires having both identity governance and access control policies in place. In addition, managers need flexible and convenient tools for training, communicating, and collaborating with new team members. Adding new team members without these systems can invite risk, and make it difficult to complete objectives and meet project deadlines.
Engagement Will Become A Top KPI
The pandemic is forcing managers to re-think how they approach productivity and performance monitoring. Some metrics that used to be effective in offices since become outdated, with more companies now embracing ideas like autonomy and flexible scheduling.
Now, companies are starting to shift away from traditional productivity monitoring, and are instead focusing on monitoring engagement and well-being.
“Even before the pandemic, organizations were increasingly using nontraditional employee monitoring tools, but that trend will be accelerated by new monitoring of remote workers and the collection of employee health and safety data,” explains Gartner.
Is your business prepared for these forecasted events? Now is the time to prepare and set your future for success!