The future of work is happening now. High-scale remote working, once seen as a preserve of the future, is suddenly upon us. Recent events have shone an immediate light on the need for remote working across the business landscape. For many businesses, Covid-19 is now the biggest driver of technology and process adoption, responsible for the development of digital transformation strategies.
Some business leaders were still cautious about innovating with technology, putting it off until ‘tomorrow’, a nice-to-have rather than a necessity. The current climate may still be hampering efforts to invest in technology. However, now more than ever, business leaders understand that for businesses to survive and support their staff, they need to adapt and act with pace and decisiveness. Impending economic recovery could provide the ideal way for forward-thinking companies to refresh the way they work and connect with each other.
One of the starkest business messages to come out of this crisis is the reminder that businesses need to remain agile and responsive. At the end of March, we surveyed over 5,000 HR professionals on their readiness and ability to cope with crisis. 48% stated that their organisations were not prepared for remote working. Whether a technological or mindset barrier, this will need to be addressed rapidly. Nobody knows what the new normal, at work or at home, will look like. But many businesses do not have the right tools in place to ensure they have the flexibility to respond to any future changes effectively. The need for flexible working is not just to facilitate business continuity now, but to smooth and accelerate business recovery in the near future. With many businesses starting or developing their plan for recovery, a return to office-based patterns of work may not be on the cards for many for some time or at all. Those organisations that embrace Cloud technology will be better placed to respond and react to any difficulties as and when they come. Even as circumstances improve, and the business landscape recovers, HR professionals cannot be sure when they will be called upon again to react quickly, or whether the new normal will persist in the future.
Maintaining contact with your people is always key, but especially at the moment. Whether you have people working remotely, or are managing changing shift patterns, furloughed staff, or a combination of all of these, you need to ensure your channels of communication are effective. Managing sickness is now critical, due to the impact on other team members. Staying in touch with the workforce will be vital for ensuring the wellbeing of employees, making sure they are both productive and happy. Having all of this information readily accessible to HR teams and staff means you can keep connected to your teams, and support them in difficult situations in a responsible and timely way. Businesses that can’t connect with their employees, and perform on duty of care, won’t be able to mitigate the personal barriers that could affect business recovery. For many businesses, protecting their people’s wellbeing and productivity, and protecting their business, are one and the same.
Already, organisations and employees are facing some very big changes to the way they work, and these changes have already had huge implications for the future. This has brought the future of work to the present. Employees’ expectations were shifting before this mass disruption. A HPE Aruba report, conducted before the Covid-19 outbreak, found that 39% of employees already identified mobile working as the single most important factor when evaluating job satisfaction. These expectations have been rapidly accelerated with the sea change in working from home, with staff now expecting to be able to connect and work remotely as standard. Cloud technology is playing a pivotal role in this, and the question for most companies is no longer ‘if’, but ‘when’, and ‘how’ they are going to the Cloud. HR technology architecture needs to deliver connectivity and processes that make people’s lives easier, and ensure isolated teams still operate effectively and collaboratively. So, is your organisation prepared for the future?