The seismic shift brought on by the pandemic has empowered knowledge workers to be the ones that decide how, when, and where they work. In other words, it has initiated an era of unprecedented work flexibility where workers expect to move seamlessly from the home office to a coffee shop to the physical workplace without skipping a beat.
Depending on individual preferences, some flourish while physically working alongside colleagues, while others prefer independent working. With work-from-home policies, asynchronous work schedules are becoming the norm as employees fit their work around their home life.
For many, daily work is something conducted easier from home, like making calls or creating spreadsheets. On the other hand, the office has become a space to cultivate ideas, collaborate, and maintain relationships.
This creates significant logistical challenges for organisations, who must find ways to support employees without compromising productivity, ensuring the right technology is implemented to work correctly is the key for organisations to keep meeting these changing requirements.
Before a business can effectively create an era of flexibility, it must ensure that all stakeholders have the same understanding of what exactly that means. This involves formally defining flexibility within the context of the organisation. Here’s how you can inform your technology and policy decisions for the greatest net-positive impact on your business.
While these guidelines will differ from company to company, you can formulate them by considering the following:
- How technology and the office space itself can enable flexibility and empower employees.
- Take an outcome-based approach to draft workplace rules that involve employees. Trust your people and put the power in their hands to help create common-sense best practice guidelines.
- Make no assumptions. Identify essential activities, adequately incentivise participation, and clearly state the activity’s motivation or benefits. Make your office a magnet for involvement by identifying and removing disincentives.
- Apply these same guidelines to your customers. Like your staff, you need to empower customers with a sense of agency to act on their own terms.
In short, here are some principles to live by in the era of flexibility:
- Technology is what enables flexibility
- Flexibility will (almost) always win
- Customers have the same expectations as employees
- Constant innovation is a key differentiator
It makes sense that the proliferation of new ways of working would lead to new employment models as well. Instead of the binary choice between full-time or part-time, other offshoots, like early-time, late-time, or outcome-based employment, are also on the rise.
Similarly, most customers view visiting a service provider’s place of work as an ineffective use of time and effort. The trick is to allow interactions to take place remotely without sacrificing the richness of in-person experiences. From banks using dedicated broadcast studios for IPO roadshows to retailers offering online personal shopping, digital experiences can be made better than their physical counterparts.
That’s not to say physical experiences are a thing of the past. Some in-person experiences will remain irreplaceable for the foreseeable future. However, it means being able to take a step back and categorise interactions according to which are better being virtual or at least offering the choice between virtual or physical experience.
For example, a healthcare provider in Israel is providing new parents with at-home diagnostic kits. Parents can provide their doctors with real diagnostic information and make online Zoom consultations instead of a mandatory trip to the clinic. A physical check-up is necessary only if the doctor sees something concerning in the data or the first recommendations don’t work.
The examples are endless. Just think of how an online video chat would create a better experience than queuing at a bank, or how online triage can help vulnerable or isolated communities access quality healthcare. Even in learning, technology assists students in accessing education, even amid an active crisis, as it did during COVID lockdowns.
Zoom was in a prime position to flourish during the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, instead of just staying a video app, it has evolved into a platform comprising an entire suite of flexible work tools.
As an example, here is what it has to offer different stakeholders:
- Smart galleries for more engaging hybrid meetings
- Online, shareable whiteboards
- Workplace reservation with signage and online booking support
- Acoustic and video bubbles
- Contact centres with video routing
- Events services that include multi-day, multi-event streaming capabilities
- Built-in transcription and translation
- Zoom IQ for sales – a real-time, artificial intelligence data
- Digital Transformation 2.0:
- Thousands of third-party integrations and Zoom apps
- AI options and capabilities
- SDKs and APIs
- Developer support & community
Zoom is becoming a video-first unified communications platform that’s going beyond just simply facilitating collaboration. It’s also delivering value to HR, marketing, sales, and operations departments, making them more flexible whilst enhancing interactions.
Adopting the right technology will not only help you deal with the challenges of Digital Transformation 2.0 but it can be used to enhance your entire business. The right technology will also help organisations embrace the new normal by right-sizing offices and teaching new management skills.
Across many fields, businesses and users realise that they aren’t losing anything by shifting some activities to remote/hybrid. In fact, they are finding ways to eliminate disincentives while increasing their value for employees and customers.
These trends aren’t really about the technology itself. Instead, it’s about the expectation of how lives can be better when technology is no longer the problem but the solution. While choice is almost always a good thing, technology makes choice possible.
Get in touch to find out how Zoom can help your business with digital transformation 2.0.