Once the tech needs of hybrid workforces get figured out, what comes next?
Hallford and others already are looking ahead to the metaverse and the promise it holds for converting telepresence (which is what you have when everyone is on a video call) into co-presence (which is when it feels like everyone is actually in the same room with you, even if they’re logging in from miles apart).
“The reality of that is still relatively far away, simply because of connectivity and [the fact that] no one owns the entire end-to-end process,” Hallford said.
Fair enough. Of course, the idea that businesses would be capable of supporting widespread remote work once seemed very far away as well.
Six (relatively) new applications for workplace technology
But back to the present…
Hallford and the other panelists at our event offered several ideas about how tech can be better utilized in workplaces today. For example:
What else did we learn from our panel of workplace tech experts?
Tech skills are no longer just for IT workers
Sophie Ruddock, a VP at the tech apprenticeships platform Multiverse, cited consulting work done with a construction company where the sales team and engineers were losing hours each week doing manual tasks that were ripe for automation. Rather than centralizing the work with IT, everyone on the sales and engineering team got trained in using technology that made their jobs less tedious.
Ruddock argues that this is as advantageous to workers as it is to the company: “You start to spread the competency, you start to spread the capabilities, across the organization so that everyone is gearing up for the future of work.”
Tech is not a substitute for transparency
Dani Johnson, a co-founder of the people-management consultancy RedThread Research, says it’s vital for managers to be explicit about the ways in which different systems are expected to be used by employees. In that vein, Quartz at Work editor Anna Oakes advises, if you’re using tracking technology to keep tabs on employees, make sure they know it, and explain why it’s important. It might even turn into an opportunity to underscore your mission.
Finally, don’t fall in love with your workplace’s technology
Figure out how it can be helpful today, and make use of it, but understand that newer innovations could turn it obsolete quickly.