We are living in the digital revolution age.
All around us, we see digital disruption from audacious start-ups boldly challenging established processes and brands. Employers have repeatedly told us to be agile and adaptable to change as an employee. Now we are seeing the opposite; established organisations have to pivot due to digital disruption and transformation in their area of expertise.
The way we work is changing, rapidly. The ‘job for life’ largely ended with the baby boomer generation. A career for life is rapidly diminishing. Re-skilling your career journey is common place, a core skill for workers today is adapting to changing work demands and technologies.
Technology has always superseded Corporate Organisational processes & behaviours in providing underutilised alternate remote working opportunities i.e. VPN capability and Unified Comms software. These have largely been seen as a ‘nice to have’ features, primarily seen as an ‘occasional’ work benefits or luxuries, rather than the norm.
With covid-19, this luxury transformed into a necessity overnight for most organisations.
Business Continuity Plans, Business & Cyber Security Risk Assurances policies, Internal team communication processes, Network congestion points were stress tested immediately. Nevertheless, work has, by and large, continued as normal for workers who were lucky enough to keep their jobs and organisations with these technologies and processes in place.
ISPs & Telco’s took the biggest hit in this rapid digital transformation. Fortunately, they are designed to absorb these significant changes in volumes, internet protocols and behaviours. I worked as an Internet IP Design engineer in one of NZ’s largest Telco/ISPs, so can appreciate the challenges faced by this overnight behavioural change.
The net productivity consequence in overnight remote working for organisations and workers is largely indifferent. Collaboration is still occurring, albeit over Zoom, Slack, Teams, Jabber, Skype or even the humble telephone… Outcomes and objectives are still being measured and achieved. The only change is how we are working, not whether we are working to the same level.
Many workers highlight productivity improvement due to the lack of commute and office distraction. Of course, remote working and isolation does have its pitfalls and is not for everyone, nor capable for every business or role. But once we resume our normal lives when the virus has passed, perhaps we will see an increased adoption to remote working. Where it is now seen as a viable normalised approach for many of its workers, rather than a nice to have occasional incentive?
Perhaps the way we will work will change for ever? Perhaps we will revert back to how we used to work? Or maybe we will find our goldilocks moment that mutually benefits both the organisation and employee equally, continuing work productivity, purpose, outcomes, company culture and engagement?
The biggest irony is that a biological virus may perhaps have the greatest impact on the digital era.
One of my takeaways from this pandemic is that we should no longer focus on ‘how’ we work in a conventional sense. It has shown us that journey to success is not the most important part; we can achieve the same outcomes via many different routes. We should instead focus on our successes and outcomes, as well as our employee engagement … wherever they may be.