Feb 9, 2021
While just about everything about office life changed in 2020, one thing that remained the same was the importance of technology to business success. In fact, that significance has only grown as organizations have needed to quickly restructure their operations in order to support a remote workforce with improved flexibility and resiliency. As we march forward in 2021, while no clearly-defined blueprint for the ongoing rebuilding effort exists, it is certain that technology will continue to play a pivotal role in overall company performance.
Here are three key areas of business performance Milner has identified to focus on in 2021, and the technology solutions we predict will help your organization improve them:
Of course, the biggest change that offices saw is the switch to the remote work environment. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hastily made working from home a necessity. IT resources rounded up their best video conferencing platforms, like Microsoft Teams, so teams could meet remotely; employees upgraded home offices with Bluetooth keyboards and wireless mice, along with adopting the best chat and file-sharing tools so that we could collaborate with the rest of our team virtually.
One of the foremost problems reported by remote workers in 2020 was lack of visibility. Accordingly, companies should look to invest in technologies that can connect them with the individual remote work experience. Viable options include apps that report remote employee overtime, work hours, vacation allowance and keep their availability visible.
Many companies discovered how productive mixed-reality environments can be with tools like shared digital whiteboards, online sticky notes, and live co-editing of documents. With the combination of voice, video, chat, and collaboration tools, all team members are able to contribute as opposed to being drowned out by those that have a forceful presence or a loud voice. Speech-recognition software also played a pivotal and transformative role in how employees access and produce information, and that trend will only increase into 2021.
As many companies quickly realized in 2020, remote work requires a very specific tech infrastructure. In one McKinsey survey, a staggering 85% of participants reported that their businesses had accelerated the adoption of virtual technologies to aid remote collaboration and interaction. One trend we anticipate to keep remote working efficient, fruitful and manageable, is organizations prioritizing SaaS applications and technology solutions that support multi-cloud environments.
Technology innovations just in the past year provided remote workforces with the ability to maintain normal operations in less-than-normal conditions. With data backup and disaster recovery services, teams could quickly spring back to their feet after a disaster or outage, minimizing downtime and maximizing employees’ ability to get the job done.
Milner offers services that continue to boost productivity by eliminating time-consuming processes. For example, document management software can eliminate the need for data entry, filing and manual file retrieval while managed IT services lift the burden of routine maintenance and back-up off of your limited internal IT resources. Business process optimization through content management solutions and workflow software allow businesses to restructure repetitive paper-based processes, like work order processing or accounts payable procedures.
According to technology, media, and telecommunications industry leader, Dave Padmos, many companies are now making key decisions about talent strategy focusing on reducing cost and lowering enterprise risk. “Businesses will continue to transition to remote-first models or continue giving employees the option to continue working offsite after offices reopen to save money on maintaining offices. This increased flexibility also will widen the talent pool and improve access to talent.”
To remain attractive to potential employees and retain the workforce they have, companies will need to create and continually update digital amenities and workplaces that better cater to this new workforce. Since workers will have more options of where and how to work, organizations will also need to reassess their operations, company culture, and the future of business.
"Businesses that invest in the right technologies to keep employees connected and working, as well as provide new employee perks—like stipends, unlimited PTO, or opportunities to work from rented homes—can offer rich hiring incentives," said Brian Rutkowski, chief talent officer at Olive.
Giving employees the tools that make them more successful in their job is essential to maintaining top talent and keeping morale high during rough patches. Technology also affords you the ability to offer desirable perks that today’s workforce is seeking. For example, leveraging secure virtual private networks and hosted phones can give employees the flexibility to telework productively.
While no one could have predicted the complete workplace disruption brought on by COVID-19 this year, we did anticipate the way it would impact the world of technology. The debate about remote work is over, and it's time for managers to set new goals for managing their workforce in the new normal in the year ahead.
Make 2021 the year you exceed your KPIs, against all odds. Milner is an industry-leading business technology provider, with expert consultants who will work within your budget to find technology solutions that help you take your business. Contact us today for a technology assessment.