The cynics claim that 2020 has taught us what are 3 important life pillars: Health, Family and stable internet connection. 😊 Yes, Teleworking, home office or remote work, call it whatever you prefer, has undoubtedly become THE most important social trend of 2020. And it will certainly carry on in next years to come. As much as there are some of us, who crave for coming back to office (or often rather back to office’s coffee machine or bean bags), quite a few people feel some relief in working from home. Cutting 2+ hours of communing back-and-forth, dropping detours from work to school or Kindergarten to pick the kids up or simply having garden or park close that you can enjoy more when working from home.
Certainly, work over the distance is not 2020 invention, most of us spent some days of home office before COVID ever emerged. But more often than not, this felt in past more like garden-leave or (almost) sick day not worth officially applying for. Also some organizations were more inclined on remote collaboration of teams that other. For example Wikipedia, in its essence, is remote working. Most of it contributors has done all their work for Wikipedia from home (or other remote locations). Wikipedia turns in 2021 (unbelievable) 20 years old already (!) Hence, remote work is here for decades. So what is the going to be change in remote work in 2021?
Well, firstly the abrupt shock of ending in home-office (often literally) from night to morning, has thrown majority of the teleworkers into emergency mode. Not to much surprise PC monitors had been the 2nd most shopped-for goods in first 2 weeks of pandemic. And here comes the first important trend: As much as you can purchase additional screen (or laptop first place) to convert your room into new home-office, your software does not adopt over the night. Yes, Zoom, TeamViewer or similar tools have went through sudden spikes of demand, but what I mean here are the office platforms as well. Most of the banking teller applications don’t run over the cloud, and (for security reasons) you need to be logged into bank infrastructure for applications to work. Majority of the public offices did not have infrastructure or software platforms designed in a way that remote logging into would be even possible. Thus, 2021 will be year of adjustments to SW making the remote work possible (or not ridiculously cumbersome) first place.
However, the changes will not stop there. Popular collaboration tools would need to heat their R&D to enable functions in their applications that will (at least) emulate feeling of team cohesion, sense of belonging. Virtual parties, all-hands meetings and other aspects of work-related human huddles of past need to find their digital representation as well.
Some companies shoot even higher. In many corporations (including IBM as example) they have taken extra step to employ Artificial intelligence to predict compatibility of working together (even if not meeting in person). Also several initiatives proven the concept of detecting emotional state of the person from the meta-data of email communication (so not reading content of messages, but rather observing how your emailing pattern in terms of time-to-respond, length of the email and percentage replies, … evolves for individual). Though EU’s GDPR will probably raise eyebrows on such an attempt, non-EU implementations are already rolling their sleeves up.
To add something on the positive side of the AI’s role in this trend, research has been also commenced on how AI could mimic “watercooler moments” of unplanned encounters leading to ideas cross-pollination. Here the artificial intelligence predicts both the right timing as well as most likely subject to bring you “Heureka” moments into (otherwise) lonely home office session.
To sum it up, remote work in 2021 will would progress from basic (thrown-into) necessity up to something alleviating pains and pitfalls of social distance to your co-workers. Software applications (and sophisticated algorithms) will sprint to close this gap (and earn penny here and there for that). This will put even more leverage for employees desiring to work from home permanently. And as with many other work environment swings, it will crash with how much the managers are ready to let go for these new trends. Thus, if even after 2020 you are not allowed to work from home, it smells like your superiors’ phobia. <in that case don’t forget to read the 2021 recruitment trend as well>
Publikované dňa 10. 1. 2021.