Over the past several decades, technological advancements have streamlined many work processes that previously required significant time and energy investments from staff. With these advancements, employees worldwide have been able to devote more focus to tasks that require their distinctive skills and expertise, saving mindless sorting and organizing processes for automated programs.
More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has even further impacted the prevalence of technology in the workplace. With stay-at-home ordinances, many companies found themselves needing to implement innovative technologies to allow their workers to complete their jobs remotely. Once employers saw how these tools were benefiting their workers’ overall productivity, new technological processes became a permanent part of both on-site and remote work environments.
Is your company keeping up with emerging technological solutions in order to stay current and maximize productivity in an ever-changing world? Read on to learn more about the top workplace technology trends for 2021.
Hybrid Work Technology
Virtual collaboration tools
The pandemic has led to increased working flexibility; while work schedules used to be relatively rigid, employees are now able to leverage the office’s collaborative and social benefits while working from home when they need it. With this flexibility comes a more distributed workforce, which presents its own unique considerations. For one, companies will have to optimize for collaboration to ensure seamless working between both on-site and remote employees. Virtual collaboration tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Asana, Slack, and Basecamp empower employees to work together and effectively manage projects across teams and departments. These tools include instant messaging, video conferencing, screen sharing, and audio conferencing features that streamline your team’s communication processes. Whiteboarding tools like Miro and Stormboard allow employees to brainstorm together and translate ideas and insights into meaningful initiatives.
Space optimization software
As the purpose of the office changes, businesses will also better need to optimize their workplaces to meet the needs and goals of on-site employees. While the office will still serve a variety of professional purposes, it will ultimately become a hotbed for collaboration, innovation, and team bonding as employees look to recreate what they are missing remotely. Companies will turn to workplace analytics and space management tools to clearly understand how space is being used and how to best maximize that space for the team’s current needs. They may find, for example, that fewer individual desks are needed and that ample meeting space is more of a priority for employees.
Virtual onboarding for remote employees
Companies will need to streamline processes to ensure that remote employees enjoy access to the same quality of resources as on-site employees. For new hires, HR teams will look to improve virtual onboarding processes by investing in presentation tools, video conferencing software, and virtual team bonding tools to introduce new employees to the broader team. Tools like Donut.ai, for example, integrate right into Slack and connect employees at random for 1:1 meet-and-greets, helping to recreate some of the serendipity that the office provides. A portion of company culture events may take place online, leading business leaders to seek out novel virtual event platforms, such as Icebreaker, which can help to bridge the gap between both on-site and remote personnel in a fun way.
Remote IT services
Troubleshooting for off-site workers will necessitate remote IT support systems, which use remote access technology to assist with any technical issues. Screen-sharing tools also make it easier for employees to receive assistance with hands-on processes. If an employee needs help fixing a computer bug or using new software, they can share their screen with the IT department, saving them the time and hassle involved with meeting in person.
Workplace Health and Safety Technology
Space management software
In order to ensure the safety and well-being of employees returning to work, health precautions will have to be implemented to ensure the safety of staff and their networks. Technology can help to automate and streamline some of these processes. Tools such as SpaceIQ and Condeco Desk Management help companies to devise socially distant floor plans. Other software, such as Robin, allows employees to schedule meeting rooms and other shared spaces to limit occupancy and provide visibility into who is utilizing the space. Investing in space allocation and scheduling tech will allow companies to better manage their workspaces and optimize them for safety.
In addition to software, many companies are looking to touchless tech hardware to minimize the spread of pathogens. Automated entryways, QR code-operated employee check-ins, and touchless shared appliances (such as coffee makers, soap dispensers, and water coolers) will all become the standard for hygiene in the post-COVID workplace.
Cloud-Based Management Systems
Cybersecurity has become a top priority for organizations in recent years. The threat of hackers compromising your customers’ personal information, interrupting your workflow, or even stealing financial products has led many businesses to pour more resources into digital security solutions. The transition to distributed work has only accelerated that trend since employees are using their own personal Internet connections, which may not have the security measures in place that office networks do. With the increased security risks of working remotely, companies are investing in cloud-based file-sharing systems and cybersecurity technology to mitigate the risks of cybercrime and protect company data.
Cloud-based systems are the customer relationship and management programs of the future. Storing your important information on a shared online platform, instead of on your office computer’s hard drive, minimizes the risk of essential files being compromised. When you store your files on the internet, you can give each employee a unique username and password and customize the information they can see, creating a more personalized and secure experience.
Cloud-based programs already use safe and secure processes, so companies that utilize these programs can rest assured that their important information will stay protected. Pairing a secure internet-based management system with advanced cybersecurity software will keep your business safe from hackers, viruses, and cybercriminals. Many digital security programs can identify and block data breaches from internal and external sources, allowing employers to pinpoint the exact source of an attempted breach.
Implementing this new technology in the workplace can make your current and future business more efficient, positively impact your data security, increase employee productivity, and improve your sales overall.