Five worthy reads is a regular column on five noteworthy items weâ€™ve discovered while researching trending and timeless topics. In this edition, weâ€™ll learn about the changing face of work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine roll out.
Before 2020, the idea of entire organizations working from home would have seemed outlandish. Remote work was a perk, a feature made possible by the advent of newer technologyÂ and ways of working together,Â but it was far from the norm. A work-from-home (WFH) option was often viewed as a unique differentiator offered by some organizations for some roles.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed all of that.
Overnight, businesses began to reevaluate how they work, and adopt new technologies and processes. Even those reluctant to climb on the digital transformation bandwagon decided to jump onboard, and to rethink processes, including how they talk to their customers, and how their workplaces function.Â One industry survey indicates that COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital transformation by more than five years!Â
Now, with the vaccine beginning to roll out, organizations are naturally planning a return to operations from the office. For some, this may entail a return to the old normal. ForÂ other organizations, the post-covid workplace may look drastically different.
Here areÂ five interesting reads on how the normalization of remote work, the mass adoption of cloud solutions, and emerging trends like the hybrid work model will impact the workplaces of tomorrow.
The normalization of remote and hybrid work models in 2020 has raised many questions: When will we return to the office? How often will we go? What impact will WFH models have on gender equality and diversity? Experts from a variety of fields and organizations offer theirÂ thoughts on these and other pertinent questions.
The pandemic acted as a forced experiment in remote work, bringing to light several benefits of this work model for organizations and their labor pools. It also highlighted some challenges that need to be overcome. Research into some “work-from-anywhere”Â operations showcased in this article highlights best practices, and can help leaders decide whether remote work is right for their organizations.
Remote work has the potential to provide organizations greater resilience to disruptions, like the COVID-19 pandemic, and enable them to recruit from a broader and more diverse talent pool. As more organizations embrace remote work, those that don’t may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
Remote work has the potential to give organizations a competitive advantage over peers, and it makes them more susceptible to cyberattacks. Personal devices typically do not have the same level of security as corporate devices, yet in the WFH scenario they are often used to access work email, sensitive files, and more. Cyber criminals take advantage of this to slip malware onto unsecured systems and use them as a point of entry into corporate networks.Â
Organizations need to address risks from more than just cybercriminals.Â Collaboration tools, one of the key enablers of the new WFH dynamic, are also a significant source of data privacy and security threats. To ensure compliance with regulations while using these tools, organizations need to fully understand the risks posed by collaboration software, and follow regulatory guidance to avoid these risks.
Now that the genie of remote work has been let out, there’s no putting it back in the bottle.
Some organizations are considering making work from home permanent for their entire labor pool, others are looking to adopt a hybrid model in the future. Even among the organizations that plan to return to office, safety concernsâ€”and even cost considerationsâ€”may lead to some in their workforce being asked to work from home permanently.
This change has the potential to broaden the market for both the organization and its labor pool by potentially eliminating geographical limitations in hiring. It could also enable more gender and diversity equality in employment. However, it is not without challenges.
Common issues in the remote and hybrid work scenarios range from concerns about employee motivation, innovation, and interactions, to complications in ensuring security and regulatory compliance. Organizations will have to upgrade their policies, processes, and technology stacks to overcome these challenges if they are to thrive in the post-COVID world.