The way we work has irrevocably changed in tandem with the swift and sudden adoption of remote and disparate work. Not only have organizations had to rethink short-term business operations, they are now responsible for making decisions that will shape tomorrow’s workforce. Some of the world’s largest brands like Salesforce, Spotify and Google have already committed to a flexible work model, allowing employees to work from anywhere. But, a year into the pandemic, executives continue to grapple with critical operational challenges brought to light by COVID-19 that need to be addressed regardless of employees’ physical location, accelerating the long overdue digital transformation journey. In fact, seven in 10 boards of directors have accelerated digital business initiatives in the wake of COVID-19 (Gartner).
By now, the groundwork needed to support remote enterprise organizations has been laid. The challenge moving forward is determining how to better support employees’ needs while maintaining high efficiency, collaboration and security, which is important regardless of where organizations are in deciding what the future of work will look like. Improving and streamlining internal processes, communication and technology stacks to achieve a more connected workflow and daily operations will all be tied to companies’ performance and employee engagement. The new workforce demands it.
New workplace demands, new opportunity
Forward-looking companies know that workday and workflow flexibility is essential for being an attractive place to work and maintaining an engaged workforce. Recent studies by Pew Research on remote work environment preferences found that more than half of employed adults whose job can be done remotely (54%) say that, if they had a choice, they’d want to work from home all or most of the time when the COVID-19 restrictions lift. A third say they’d like to work from home some of the time, while just 11% say they’d want to do this rarely or never.
As employees advocate for their workplace preferences, employers can start reimagining how they’ll manage teams in and out of the office better than they are today, and how to improve employee productivity without disruption. Although no one size fits all, given where organizations are within their digital transformation journey, this may involve reevaluating how to track performance by throwing out outdated philosophies on time monitoring and introducing performance metrics based on project management milestones. Or it could look toward standardizing document sharing as part of a larger goal to create an integrated workflow and increase the safety and security of the company’s information.
The opportunities to improve the workplace are limitless in today’s digital world, especially as organizations continue to lay the foundation for a more integrated work experience and determine where improvements can be made.
Evaluating the digital ecosystem to support employees
In today’s digital-first landscape, many organizations struggle with creating an integrated digital ecosystem for their employees. Massive amounts of structured and unstructured data spread across disparate platforms, applications, repositories and devices create frustrating employee experiences, decreasing efficiency, productivity and overall effectiveness. Further, a disconnected ecosystem leads to security and compliance issues that are highly problematic, leaving organizations vulnerable to privacy breaches, leaked documents and more.
This is why cloud-native tools have become so attractive in the workspace: they are easy to use, maintain and navigate, decreasing the burden on IT departments. Solutions like Google Workspace are designed to improve productivity and collaboration, allowing teams to work better together regardless of physical location. They allow for the collaborative development and saving of documents, spreadsheets and presentations, helping alleviate version control frustrations and varied work schedules, all while keeping a positive, engaging employee experience. The reduction in friction points among employees frees mindshare and ensures work is done in a secure ecosystem across document management and compliance.
As organizations determine what their workplace will look like in a post-COVID-19 world, the integrated digital ecosystem will play a significant role in future success, employee happiness, and day-to-day operations. For those planning to keep remote work as part of their work model successfully, it is critical to start thinking beyond the remote work must-haves of messaging, video conferencing and document sharing. Companies must also ensure that all internal processes, especially the mission-critical ones, are designed for the modern way we work.
Which side of the performance gap will you be on?
No matter where an employee is — in or out of a physical office — today’s workforce expects to experience no differences, no downtime, no disruption. Integrated communication and collaboration platforms are part of our new workplace norms, ensuring secure access with minimal latency or lag times.
This is the year to see how companies define themselves and how they rise or fall to the challenge of entering the second year of a global pandemic. Expect to see the performance gap widen between companies that have (or haven’t) modernized their IT infrastructure — an infrastructure strengthened with document management solutions for creation and collaboration, quality management for control and compliance, and process automation and workflows for streamlined processes.