The digital workplace of the future
Quite the title, don’t you think? Conjures up images of colleagues teleporting into the office, Matrix-esque swiping-graphics-in-mid-air type scenarios, and so on. Unfortunately, we aren’t quite there yet, but we are already starting to glimpse a look at what life PC (post COVID) might mean and – specifically – how that might differ from BC (before COVID).
We’ve gathered together some thoughts on how we see working practices potentially changing, the questions you might be asking, and what you can do to make it work for you.
Should the provisions we (probably hastily) scrambled together at the start of lockdown become permanent?
For most of us, there wasn’t a huge amount of warning before we were mandated to stay at home if we could. From conversations we’ve had with peers and clients, we know that – in many cases – that evoked a certain level of panic. Were systems robust and flexible enough to function as intended without teammates being in the same building? Did employees have the equipment they needed to work from home? Were they up to speed on how to access the systems they use on a daily basis, from home?
The question we now have to ask is, how that might change as lockdown gradually eases? It’s expected that working patterns will permanently change in many organisations, with the realisation – by both employers and employees – that it can work, and have benefits. Now is the time to take stock of what did, and didn’t, work well. It may mean you do nothing at all, or it may mean that a small tweak to your systems could enhance your processes such that you get the best of both worlds.
A bigger take up of remote working is on the horizon
It’s likely that remote working will become more of a permanent fixture than ever before. That’s not to say that everyone will decide to work from home, never to set foot in the office again, but it may mean you look at downsizing the space you have, or switching up to some kind of hot desking system. While, BC you might have expected everyone to be in the office, you then went through a period of expecting nobody to be in the office. The stage we’re at now is…well, who is and isn’t going to be in? There are plenty of online tools to help you manage that process to ensure that, either you don’t breach your body count in terms of social distancing, or that you have enough desks to go round. We use a ‘Whereabouts’ app in Citrix Podio (our online collaboration tool of choice) to keep track of the team – who’s going to be where and when, but there is a whole host of other options; Google Calendar, Monday.com, Wrike…to name but a few. Give us a shout if you’re after recommendations – we can have a chat about your exact needs, to ensure you choose the right tool for the job.
A permanent state of readiness
Although this pandemic is a once in a generation (if that) occurrence, it’s blatantly obvious that these things can and do happen. A wake-up call that businesses need to be on the ball, in case of further lockdowns or – God forbid – another pandemic-esque scenario. Use this period wisely, learn from the successes and mistakes so that, should we be in this situation again, you’ll be ready for it. We need to be ‘digital by default’ and ‘digital by design’, rather than digital through desperation.
How is the way you work when in the office likely to change?
In the short to medium term, the majority of us need to be practising social distancing. But, certainly in some industries, close contact is unavoidable. There are the obvious scenarios – such as health and care workers – but, certainly in the world of technology, it’s incredibly common to see a bunch of developers huddled around a screen, thrashing out the details of a piece of code. This is going to need to change. Personal proximity aside, there’s also the question of multiple mitts on mice, and pointy fingers on screens. But that’s OK, because screen sharing (including ‘taking control’ of someone else’s) is so easily done. We’ve sampled numerous platforms, including Google Meet, TeamViewer, and GoToAssist – all of which allowed us to work collaboratively, yet remotely, and included handy features such as taking control of our colleagues’ screens, highlighting, on-screen pointers etc. Ultimately, there’s nothing to stop you using Zoom (or whatever your call provider of choice is) within the same room. So, if it can work for you, use it.
There are, of course, many other ways that life may be different from now on, and we can’t cover them all here. The key message from us is that it shouldn’t be feared, but rather embraced. We have all quickly become experts at so many working practices that weren’t part of our day-to-day BC and, if you’ve got systems in place that aren’t quite hitting the mark, then we’d be happy to discuss what can be done.
And, if you’re already avid users of G Suite (or even if you’re not), then that can be a quick and simple starting point. We’re well versed in the native applications, as well as having the expertise to complement what’s there in order to ensure you benefit from the systems process(es) that you need.