Hackernoon logoThe New Normal is Remote: 6 Technologies That Will Make Working From Home Inevitable in The Future by@rebeccabarnattsmith

The New Normal is Remote: 6 Technologies That Will Make Working From Home Inevitable in The Future

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith Hacker Noon profile picture

@rebeccabarnattsmithRebecca Barnatt-Smith

Technology obsessed, productivity hacks are key.

It is no secret that the last year has brought about tremendous change to people all around the globe. From establishing a completely new lifestyle to getting acquainted with a more liberal style of working, it seems that these changes might not be going away as soon as we think.

Working from home was an adaptation that many companies had to make out of necessity due to the pandemic, but so many businesses are now choosing to make this their future way of working.

Statistics have highlighted that the majority of business owners think that their employees work at the same standard or higher in comparison to working in an office. Could the pandemic be a catalyst to the working-from-home situation being the new normal?

Source: Statista

A Mobile World 

The mass working-from-home situation has allowed companies to truly see the effectiveness of working remotely and in turn whether or not it is a success for them.

With mobile technology and accommodating software, a variety of industries have now decided that working from home is what they want to do moving forward and indefinitely. From saving money and budget in renting an office to potentially establishing a better work-life balance, using the mobile offerings that society has made available to us, can make the transition a smooth process.

One of the challenges seen during the transition to working from home remotely was implementing mobile technologies that worked for every department.

From HR and accounting to administration and commercial, the departments required different needs away from the office. The pandemic allowed businesses to have a forced trial period of working from home and ensuring that all the departments could synchronise and work effectively in a mobile fashion.

An increasingly mobile world means that employees can potentially do their job from anywhere as long as the wifi connection is reliable. A primary focus is how these mobile technologies have been embraced by a range of businesses and people and in turn give us an insight into a likely working from home future.

Technologies That Will Make Working From Home Inevitable in The Future

As the needs and requirements of different departments vary, it is starting to reflect on the technologies that have been developed and used during this time. Alongside the actual work requirements themselves, productivity seems to be an ongoing problem that many employees face as their home is now essentially their workspace.

The utilisation of developing technologies will allow communication windows to remain open as well as productivity encouragement.

Video Conferencing Apps 

As the transition from face to face goes from in the office to virtual, the need for video conferencing apps is a must. As email may not always relay messages in the correct way, the use of video conferencing apps like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams can accommodate those face-to-face interactions and host team meetings.

Alongside the potential negative inferences being taken out of email, the use of video conferencing apps can provide employees with the interaction that they may not be getting from working within a home environment.

A great way to check in with the team and continue to establish rapport and encourage productivity. Creating team-building habits may ensure that employees who wish to can work alongside others.

Organisation Network Access

When working from home organisations who work with a company intranet or specific VPN had to transfer them to be used at home. By establishing remote desktop connections, you can access the same systems that you could when being in the office.

Not only does this mean that your working procedures are reflective of being in the office, but also increases your mobility and ability to take your work as remotely as you would like, wifi permitting of course.

Virtual To-Do Lists

When working remotely, the delegation of tasks or priorities that day may not be as easily relayed because of the omission of face-to-face office interaction. Virtual to-do lists can be a great way to manage a team project and ensure that the team is aligned with what needs to be done for the day. Increasingly popular tools like Asana and Trello are accessible tools that allow users to make the most of their time and see their tasks and priorities alongside the rest of the team.

With apps and technology like virtual to-do lists, their adaptability can be used alongside smart technology and smart homes. Apps and systems like this can align with functions that many people already have in their homes, from smartwatches to smart speakers and eyewear

This is another tell-tale technology that highlights why working from home could eventually become an inevitability. For example, with the eyewear market alone being worth over 100 billion dollars it would not be a far-fetched prediction that employees could eventually manage their day and tasks remotely and via their smart eyewear.

Virtual Collaboration Software 

Just as with the video conferencing software, the open channels of communication are something that was feared to be compromised when working, but virtual collaboration platforms are something that has helped get around this concern. 

Apps such as Slack are designed to establish an open tunnel of communication across the team and with individuals.

This provides a more transparent and real-time method of communication in comparison to emails alone. As you won’t be on video call all the time virtual collaboration software and platforms are a great way to the instant message within professional boundaries. 

The utilisation of live chat groups can mirror the collaboration and quick in real-time answers that an employee may get whilst working in the office.

This not only streamlines communication but also allows for productive collaboration with other members of the team and even the management. From asking quick questions, to generally checking in on someone about their day, this can create comfortability in knowing that not all forms of communication have to be as formalised as an email. 

With features that allow users to set their status to busy, or active, or away, there is a quick real-time view in seeing who is available at that point in time for you to communicate with. These platforms are also available on mobile phones so you could even step away from your desk without compromising your communication channel. Another telltale technology that highlights the inevitability of working from home.

Virtual Team Building Activities 

The scared Zoom and video quizzes were all the rage at the beginning of lockdown, but to mirror this engagement into the workplace there have been activities developed to connect with your teams. 

Keeping team morale high and ensuring that employees feel engaged even whilst working remotely is no easy task, but with the use of virtual team building activities and digital activities, creating opportunities to get the team to get to know each other is no longer impossible, even when working from home. 

The use of platforms such as Kahoot and HQ Trivia can contribute to team rapport and allow you to host quizzes and games to get to know your team outside of a professional setting. Think of it as a mixer, but virtual and in the comfort of your own home.

This technology is a great asset to a working-from-home repertoire as it can even be accommodating to people who are new to the company and haven't had the chance to meet people in real life. Potentially connecting a team that is not just where the office is based is a great way to show the inevitability and reality of a working-from-home future

Remote Document Management

The group contributions that can normally be collectively done in the office can now also be done remotely. By utilising online systems such as Google Docs and Dropbox the efficiency and checking of teamwork can be streamlined and kept confidential if necessary. From storing client contracts to submitting work for checking, this technology is a great way to keep the workflow as it would be in the office, but from home. 

Alongside the practical logistics of remote document management, it makes for seamless work handover when people take time off and for allowing new members of the team to virtually shadow how the company operates and works remotely. 

The technologies discussed above are only a small insight into the potential technologies that can aid the transition into working from home and making it the new normal. They often accommodate the need for people to work remotely without the need for an office space. As the last year has shown that many industries can work from home effectively, the new normal being remote is now removed from the realm of being a novelty.

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