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How Technology Can Enable Collaboration for the ‘Next Normal’
Now that the world is beginning to emerge into the “next normal,” as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, businesses and workers alike are rethinking how they approach the traditional work experience and the real estate footprint.
Many companies — including Slack, Square, and Twitter — have signaled their intention to allow their employees to work from home forever. Even if organizations cannot — or will not — bring their teams to a central office until everyone feels it is safe to do so, the technology they use is more important than ever. Teams must stay connected, even if they remain virtual post-pandemic.
The pandemic has dramatically altered the work experience, perhaps forever, and normalized remote working for organizations that had not previously pondered it. This change is one that may be felt for years or even for generations.
The Shift Isn’t New
In recent years, organizations have increasingly expressed concerns about maintaining momentum while their teams work remotely. But their fears were unfounded. The pandemic proved to many organizations that their teams could maintain momentum even when working from disparate locations, accelerating digital transformation.
Most employed Americans (61%) are now working from home due to COVID-19, and many are seeing the benefits, according to a PGi commissioned The Harris Poll survey. Three in four (75%) Americans say working from home made them realize that in-person meetings are often not needed, The Harris Poll survey also found. Furthermore, 63% of the people surveyed said they accomplish more during a video conference at home than during an in-person meeting.
Technology is key to enabling teamwork and bringing value in this new era.
The “Next Normal” Office
The WFH trend has also made many organizations rethink — or freeze — expansion projects.
Coupled with the idea that people are equally, if not more, productive from their homes, many companies are looking at their offices in a new light. The result is some businesses have upwards of 50% more space than they need, and the open office floorplan is likely a design of the past. Additionally, many organizations that turned to the open office concept to foster collaboration are now revisiting their plans for the new office to factor in proper social distances measures.
Many workers have also started fleeing more expensive cities such as San Francisco and New York City, and this trend is likely to accelerate. But it doesn’t matter. A team is about more than an office location; it’s about a group of people coming together around a single idea. So, why not put them in the place where they can accomplish the most?
Technology Fostering Safer Collaboration
And as the world emerges from COVID-19, successful organizations will harness the idea of collaboration to lean on their teams’ strengths and overcome weaknesses. Organizations must use platforms and tools that help teams collaborate, and in the time of COVID-19, give teams a bit of a personal connection that would not otherwise have.
Most employed Americans working from home because of COVID (54%) are not ready to attend large, in-person work-related events or conferences, according to The Harris Poll survey. So, why make them?
The digital transformation and ongoing workplace disruption present an exciting opportunity for organizations, and they must continue to build a team that is agile and empowered to execute in advance of the next business disruption. But, it’s not only taking the steps necessary to prepare for the future. It’s also about building organizations to safeguard success in the near term.
People want to connect with their colleagues because they know a rising tide lifts all ships, and if one team member ups their game, the entire team performs better than the sum of its parts. It’s the technology that will foster safe collaboration and yield business outcomes.
These tools will all but eliminate generational barriers as teams come together to form Generation V (virtual) – a new way of working as the world finds its “next normal.” But we must lay out the proper groundwork as in-person collaboration shifts further to virtual collaboration.