As the world rotates to the ‘new normal’, considerable uncertainty remains about the future of work. For Frost & Sullivan, nearly one-third of IT decision-makers worldwide agree that uncertainty about future organizational structure and work styles (e.g., hybrid, at-home, remote, on-site) is preventing them from meeting or exceeding their digital transformation goals.

What will the future of work be like? Where will work take place? How will employees remain engaged in their tasks and with other people? Will existing investments in office productivity and business software and communications and collaboration tools support the future of work?

It can be complicated—the answers differ for each organization, line of business, workforce demographic, and individual employees. The future of work is here, and we’re not going back to the way things were. However, business decision-makers clearly need guidance to devise a technology strategy and roadmap that will allow them to confidently move forward.

The framework should be underpinned by three characteristics we already know about the future of work:

1) It’s flexible;
2) It’s connected;
3) It’s user-friendly.

The future of Work is Flexible:

  • Challenge: In general, people feel included and supported when they are more engaged and productive, particularly in unsettled times. The Great Resignation is the trend of many people retiring, taking a sabbatical, or prioritizing personal growth (rather than professional growth) during this time of uncertainty and transition. This, and similar trends in different world regions, has led to greater focus on employee well-being and work-life balance among business leaders. The impact on businesses, including scarcity of employee talent and difficulties attracting and retaining talent, has brought important transformations, such as flexible work schedules and locations.
  • Solution: The rapid and widespread adoption of flex-work practices (remote work, work from home, and hybrid work) has proven to be an effective method to maintain business continuity amid potentially disruptive times. Flex-work is also now widely embraced as a viable measure to attract and retain talent and enhance employee happiness and work-life balance. Additional benefits to the business are many, such as the ability to source employee talent located anywhere, leverage the insights of a diverse workforce, reduce real estate costs, and improve business continuity amid potentially disruptive events.

The Future of Work is Connected:

  • Challenge: A distributed workforce with new and evolving work styles, rapidly shifting customer demands, and intensifying competition have made it clear that many paper-based workflows are outmoded. Gaps in communications, broken processes, inaccuracies due to human error, and limited remote access to business information have changed the requirements of technology development, deployment and consumption—yesterday’s solutions are ill-fit.
  • Solution: New state-of-the-art business software is needed. Smart companies are holistically digitizing their operations to connect people and information at the right time, in context, wherever work happens. Transitioning to an open, extensible, cloud-based technology environment enables companies to integrate various applications and databases to drive more efficient digital processes. Solutions that integrate business and communications platforms empower the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate routine tasks, eliminate errors, and surface the data-driven insights necessary to avoid emerging risks and pursue new opportunities. Appropriately equipped workers can securely access all the functionality, information, and contacts they need to keep productivity high and processes moving smoothly.

The future of Work is User-friendly:

  • Challenge: Most companies use dozens of applications and providers for their general office productivity tools (e.g., office, email, calendar, and task and project management), business databases (e.g., CRM, HR, finance, marketing, and IT management), and collaboration solutions (e.g., conferencing, team messaging, and file sync and share). As a result, employees often need to switch apps to perform different tasks in their routine workflows. So, as the business manages numerous vendor relationships and contracts, it has a range of different business software for security, compliance, and integration, which generally complicate processes.
  • Solution: An integrated cloud-based environment from a single provider simplifies and strengthens many areas. A common security, compliance, and integration framework streamlines matters for IT teams and enables customization to each organization’s unique requirements. Business leaders can leverage an integrated system of platforms for data insights and process automation across applications. It enables secure, consistent access to information from wherever users and IT are located, from mobile or desktop devices. User single sign-on (SSO) across integrated applications eliminates disruptive, error-prone app switching needed to access and share information. An intuitive, unified software client interface makes information and communications capabilities available within the context of tasks to enhance the speed and accuracies of workflows.

In this time of transition, it’s more important than ever to equip your organization and employees for success. Every company needs a range of business, communications, and collaboration software to operate. The days of information silos and inefficient communications should be left in the past. The future of work is already here—today’s solutions are designed to address yesterday’s challenges by driving efficiencies and flexibility into the way work is performed.

Take advantage of the opportunity to transform from the bottom-up through robust, yet reasonably priced, cloud-based solutions that the majority of your employees will use. Digitize your workflows to support the distributed workforce as it evolves over the long term. Look for comprehensive solutions powered by integrated software that connects information and people at the right time, supports the flex work skilled employees require, and positions them for engagement and satisfaction in their roles. As you explore the best available options, be sure to include the comprehensive Zoho Workplace portfolio of cloud business, productivity, and collaboration solutions for the ability to deploy affordably at scale.

Ensure a smooth transition to the new normal with hybrid work! Click here to learn about Zoho Workplace.

 

About Rob Arnold

Principal Analyst and Program Manager for the ICT practice, Rob has been involved in some facet of telecommunications for over 20 years. A primary focus of his research is to uncover how technology is enabling new ways of working, how professionals will collaborate using tools and what will the future work environment look like. Specialties include competitive and market intelligence, market trend analysis and forecasting. Rob's experience covers a broad range of sectors. Before starting with Frost & Sullivan in 2010, he was an analyst with Current Analysis for 8 years. Prior to that time, Rob served several years in MCI/WorldCom and has held numerous roles within contact centers in the healthcare and retail sectors.

Rob Arnold

Principal Analyst and Program Manager for the ICT practice, Rob has been involved in some facet of telecommunications for over 20 years. A primary focus of his research is to uncover how technology is enabling new ways of working, how professionals will collaborate using tools and what will the future work environment look like. Specialties include competitive and market intelligence, market trend analysis and forecasting. Rob's experience covers a broad range of sectors. Before starting with Frost & Sullivan in 2010, he was an analyst with Current Analysis for 8 years. Prior to that time, Rob served several years in MCI/WorldCom and has held numerous roles within contact centers in the healthcare and retail sectors.

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