The workplace as we once knew it, is certainly not the same. There’s no denying that the traditional ways of working are slowly being influenced, due to the technology which is available. Digital technology has been evolving, and businesses are beginning to opt for digital solutions and change.
We began to see certain workplace trends emerging and the COVID-19 crisis, has only enhanced their importance.
We’ve seen many business be forced to adopt a ‘work from home’ culture over the past year, but what workplace trends could we see in 2021?
The value of employees should never be underestimated; especially during difficult times. Until present, it could be argued that employee experiences have been somewhat fragmented, which has left workers feeling isolated and unsupported.
As businesses have identified this, they are now slowly moving towards building digital workplaces to help employees at every level have the great employee experience they need. We are seeing applications being built to aid employee needs. Applications that allow employees to log in on a mobile or tablet, if they are away from the office, to receive the information they need. Resources such as starter welcome packs and training guides could be available to new starters who perhaps may begin remotely, but will be equipped with all the information they need.
The need to collaborate and communicate virtually during the last year left many without a choice – but virtual collaboration is here to stay in the long run.
There are currently digital solutions available to help team members collaborate on projects, share files, screen-share and conduct their weekly meetings. This allows team members to work together on projects and maintain a high level of productivity. As we begin to see workplace changes, virtual communication and collaboration currently is – and will continue to be – incredibly important in the modern workplace.
A study found that companies that encouraged collaborative working were five times as likely to be high performing.
One of the key challenges that employees have faced in the wake of COVID-19, is the transition of moving away from manual processes, not having access to office supplies and being in different locations. This is where digitisation comes in.
Being able to manage workflow has been tricky for organisations; but automation is being embraced. For businesses that deal with forms and applications, will find it much easier. Companies can now set up business process automation so that once a form is filled in, it triggers a notification to the relevant person for approval. Once it is approved, it passes onto the next person in the workflow chain.
Onboarding new employees remotely can be tricky for business and the new starters; as they’re not in the same location. By implementing more online onboarding systems, new starters will have access to all company essentials.
As we move towards a more ‘digital workplace’, the likelihood of being exposed to cyber threats will undoubtedly increase. This is due to workers now using their own devices instead of office workstations. Organisations are now stepping up their security processes to ensure they are fully protected against external threats.
These methods include: Two-factor authentication, meticulous security permissions and asking users to regularly update their passwords. If businesses use an intranet, they will be able to access permission management and manage what specific roles can and cannot do within the system.
Of course, the result of not taking the necessary security measures could be very costly. There could also be a need for organisations to provide resource and training for employees on how to best avoid data and security risks.
Mobile alerts have become the norm for many of us; although you can turn notifications on and off, it has become convenient to receive instant alerts, keeping us glued to our screens. Mobile functionalities for the digital workplace have become very relevant and increasingly requested.
Just like for various applications installed on our devices, employees being able to receive instant notifications for important notices whilst away from their desk or office, will come in very beneficial. For example, they could be notified for important company changes such as a new starter joining, additional resources and updates on projects when collaborating.
As more businesses transition towards digital working, we expect to see more mobile apps being developed.
Digital workplaces are becoming more decentralised; seeing a variety of employees from different departments contributing towards creating and maintaining digital content. So instead of one employee handling the responsibility for digital requirements; there are now already built-in low-code and no-code development tools, that enable employees to easily maintain content they have created. These may be drag and drop fields to create forms; with advanced analytical tools being available.
Building a digital workplace will be key to the success of many businesses. Ensuring that productivity levels are maintained is important, however, the tools which are in place to allow a collaborative working environment is what will determine if companies are successful and can therefore remain competitive.
Check out our podcast: Office Trends For 2021 and Beyond, with Peter Dudley