Technology has made hybrid working so much easier. Since the onset of the pandemic, many of us have been subject to long days of video-chatting, Zoom meetings, and email threads. While sitting in front of a computer screen all day may be hard on our eyes (and our backs), it is difficult to discount how technology has carried us through much of this unprecedented time.
Clearly, Zoom has served as a symbol for our reliance on technology to continue our normal work and school lives best we can. And with no small reward–the video communications company saw a staggering 600% increase in stock this year, along with a 355% revenue increase. Mizuho Securities analyst Siti Panigrahi writes, In our view, the Covid-19 pandemic has provided a major impetus for the adoption of cloud-based communication tools…We see the current ‘Work-From-Home’ environment evolving into a ‘Work-From-Anywhere’ dynamic that results in the ongoing replacement of inflexible and old on-premises solutions with cloud-based communication/collaboration tools.” Here, Panigrahi draws an interesting distinction between “Work-From-Home” and “Work-From-Anywhere”; video and cloud-based communications have not sentenced us to our home offices, necessarily. Rather, because we are not required to be in the office, workers have more work space than ever before–anywhere, really.
For employees, the portable workspace of telecommunications has obvious benefits–freedom to work and collaborate from anywhere, and the ability to interact face-to-face while circumventing any Covid-19 related risk. This will be helpful long after the pandemic is over–the ability to partake in meetings regardless of physical proximity will be immensely helpful from a scheduling and coordination standpoint. Perhaps this is why 90% of remote workers have no intention of returning to the office (a statistic reported in 2018, before the pandemic).
Technology is beneficial for employers as well. The Society for Human Resource Management cites Hubstaff co-founder Dave Nevogt, who sees the benefits of far-reaching technology: “…you have a world of talent to choose from versus a localized area. This opens you up to getting people that are truly specialists at what they do, which in many cases can make the difference of a business’ succeeding or failing.” These increased array of options gives employers the ability to be more specific about the kind of candidate they want on their team–they are no longer limited to the local pool. This can be especially beneficial to companies in sparse locations with particular needs.
With increased reliance on technology comes issues of data and security. Daniel Newman writes for Forbes how employers can make technology as easy and beneficial as possible for their companies. He cites Dell’s “three-pronged approach” which includes empowering employee communications, managing devices and work interfaces, and securing data. Maintaining trust and reliability in a work environment is essential to running a cohesive company–employers can achieve this by making sure their employees feel comfortable and excited by the opportunities provided by their technology.
There are a variety of ways technology has changed the work landscape, particularly in the last twelve months. The pandemic has caused a massive influx of workers who use telecommunications on a regular basis–although this increased use of technology was a solution to a much larger issue, a silver lining remains. Technology makes working from home so convenient that we may see an uptick of workers choose to go fully remote in the long-term or they may opt for a hybrid work model after the pandemic.