The world experienced an unprecedented event with COVID-19, making a lot of people change how they work and live. Nearly everyone in the world is working from home because of the new directive of social distancing which serves as a significant measure to mitigate the spread of the disease. A lot of companies have made working from home permanent while some others are exploring a hybrid system where employees can decide to either to work from the office or from their respective homes. There are a lot of changes happening in different parts of the world and the workplace as we know it will not look the same going forward.
This article will be highlighting the changes we might begin to see in the workplace and what the workplace of the future might look like.
The rise of the virtual office
The physical office we know today is undergoing an evolution that might see traditional spaces cease to exist in the coming years. Today’s working landscape is one defined by connectivity, and that connectivity is having a startling impact on how we work. Offices might become smaller and more remote, collaborative technology will enable the workforce to increase work from home.
Technology has a huge part to play in this. Companies will need to form a digitally dependent ecosystem supported by a highly mobile, independent, and demanding workforce. This will not only help increase operational efficiency but also arms the employees with the right tools, products, and services to accomplish their goals.
At AVA Energy, we are moving to a full hybrid system where our team members will get to choose either to work from a physical space or from their homes. We have also moved everything we do to the cloud and equipped our team with the resources needed to help them work better.
Global virtual collaboration
Alongside this shift within the physical workplace, the move towards remote working through technology will support even greater collaboration between local and global employees. Future meeting rooms will be entirely virtual, with employees based in workspaces around the globe using technologies such as AR and holographic projectors to join real-time workgroups, opening a potential pool of truly global talent for the industry. This remote future comes with its own challenges, not least the possible impact on employee engagement. People might feel less engaged with their company as the workplace becomes more remote, less team-orientated and more impersonal. This also creates new avenues for innovation for employee engagement. Creating time to have personal conversations, creating rooms for teams to come in to have a chat might be a way to reduce the fear of less team engagement. It seems then, as the office of tomorrow evolves so too will the need for organisations to deliver even greater employee engagement. The ultimate reward for this customised, collaborative office of tomorrow, is a truly interconnected future global workplace.
At AVA, we have changed how we approach collaboration. Nearly 100% of our collaborations are virtual. We have weekly catchup meetings with teams and Quarterly CEO communications. The aim of all this is to find ways to keep the team engaged and connected even while working remotely.
Culture is another huge change we might see in the workplace of the future. With so many people, culture is limited to the physical building. But with work moving more remotely, culture needs to be seen in the values of a company. People who have transparency have a value and live it in their everyday life which now becomes a part of the culture. At AVA, trust is a value we hold dear. A value that we hope to show to our team, and we hope to get from our team. We have seen a lot of recruitment agencies come back into physical offices giving reasons such as ‘we need to be sure everyone in the team is working’. Trust as a value made it easy for us at AVA to completely move into a hybrid mode of working where team members can decide how and where they want to work. We trust each member of our team to get the work from different locations. Our culture is also intertwined into our values as a company and we are working every day to show our team how committed we are to their growth both in their careers and personal lives.
Moving forward, organisations will need to modify their business practices to keep up with their competitors and all the developments the future could bring. Whether it is adopting a flexible work schedule or instituting a more virtual environment, the future of work may dramatically change. With automation and new technologies, companies will see a surge in productivity and efficiency levels, while employees could experience a better work-life balance. So, while these changes could shift the dynamics and processes of many companies, it’s safe to say that the future of work will accommodate our needs and help us assume more meaningful and engaging roles within the workplace.