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Though Covid-19 has undoubtedly wrought untold difficulties on many businesses, for some it has accelerated positive changes they would have eventually undertaken anyway. Those who have had hybrid working 'thrust upon them' have found the model to be popular, productive and profitable. As such, it seems that this way of working will very much be part of the fabric of our future 'new normal'.
Digital and technology are reshaping the future of the employee experience: companies need to foster digital literacy and the skills of their employees. Innovative leaders, moreover, must integrate sustainability, digital and technology into corporate culture and identity. The evolution of organizations relies on new ways of working, including the collaboration between humans and AI-powered assistants.
Hyperautomation is putting conversational platforms, robots, process mining, and machine learning-powered tools beside Robotic Process Automation to create powerful solutions that evolve over time, based on what engines and algorithms learn with experience.
The focus of companies is shifting from the automation of repetitive, administrative and low-expertise tasks and processes, to the integration of data-driven technologies to enable new business models/operations, e.g. in the marketing field.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of those working away from the office – whether by choice or due to lockdown – miss being around their teams. And, as the millions of workers around the world who have suffered from 'Zoom fatigue' can attest, video alone does not suffice when it comes to fostering productive connections.
Enterprise social networks are being used as a single access point to the entire set of information, events, training contents, and internal services provided by headquarters: especially in larger organizations, they are becoming the virtual counterpart of office life.
VPN and classical antivirus and antimalware solutions are not enough any longer: Extended Detection and Response solutions are as important to secure ICT operations as new technologies like SASE, Zero trust, and micro-segmentation in the back-end.
Hybrid architectures based on cloud computing and edge computing are supporting both remote working and cases where human beings are wearing AI-powered wearables (e.g. exoskeletons), or where hybrid work is powered by the presence of robots, co-bots, and drones.
Business disruptions will not stop and need to be faced by scaling agility and building organizational resilience. As well as retaining talent, hybrid work – which opens up access to a global talent pool – could help organisations plug technical skills gaps.
Data collection and real-time analytics have reached the spotlight of HR departments: monitoring, supervising and training employees, tracking individual productivity, performance. The need for a reshaped workforce will lead to a culture of continuous training and upskilling.
Companies must craft an agile, digital-first strategy and an implementation roadmap. Despite their initial concerns, Reply’s customers were able to set up, lead, and release innovative solutions during the pandemic. This was possible due to the close collaboration between departments, often overcoming the challenges of while remote working.
Organizations must put “holistic wellbeing” (physical, mental, financial) first. Financial assistance, adjusted flexible working hours, childcare support, community support, telehealth services, mental health days and virtual coaching support activities, would be among the tools and initiatives implemented to achieve this.
A global shift towards sustainability is under way, driven by younger generations and their rising expectations. The workforce is increasingly looking for purpose-driven organizations that act in responsible and environmentally sustainable ways - and that are brave enough to take a stand on societal and cultural issues.