Without a doubt, the biggest shake-up in working practices in recent memory has been the shift to working from home (WFH). When you think about the impact that WFH has had, and is probably going to continue to have, on the way we all work, it is a staggering change. What we at Lavandi Talent find interesting, though, is the technological change that accompanied the move to remote working. Not that that is the only tech change affecting the way we work, but it is a good place to start.
I know it’s a bit of a cliché to say it, but when you look at the ideas of what the future would look like from only a couple of decades ago, you can’t help but notice that we are living it. Probably top of the list of changes is what we consider as being the workplace. New job roles are starting to feature more WFH than we would have thought likely just a few years ago. At the risk of mentioning the ever-present C-word (Covid), it’s clear that it has been an influence in this, but it isn’t totally responsible. Remote working was a shift that was happening anyway. To make WFH happen, though, you need the IT infrastructure to facilitate it. That means video connectivity that actually works – anyone who remembers the early days of this will understand what I mean. Video conferencing then is probably one of the most important technologies changing the way we work right now.
Cloud-based working is another area where the advances in technology are facilitating the changes in the workplace. Not only do we all take for granted the ability to access our files from pretty much anywhere in the world, many of our internal systems also run via the cloud now. The back-office systems for many businesses now depend almost solely on remote servers. In the recent past, they would have required expensive server machines located on the premises. What all this means is that the workplace is no longer physically tied to a location. The very idea of what ‘going to work’ means is changing. More than that, the physical location of a business is, in some cases at least, an unnecessary expense and logistical dead end.
The obvious next step from WFH and cloud-based systems is to do away with the idea of the workplace altogether. In some industries, there is absolutely no need to have a workplace in the traditional sense at all. Of course, there is a need for balance so that we don’t lose the social aspect of going to work, and humans tend to work better in a group, but that is really only about logistics. A virtual working environment may well be all that is needed as a workplace for some industries for much of the time. In effect, technology is facilitating a change in the working world not seen since the shift to mass production during the industrial revolution.
Assuming we are all more likely to be working from home, it would be remiss not to look at the home delivery and online shopping revolution. The beauty trade has really adapted to this remarkably well, with everything from virtual makeover apps through to social media influencers being embraced as part of a developing consumer need profile. So, what about the delivery and return of the products themselves? Well, while it may well be quite some time before the sky is buzzing with drones to deliver our goods, there are several innovative schemes that are in operation already. Milton Keynes, for example, is one of several areas that has a working robot delivery service. It has an operational range of a 4-mile radius and delivers food, groceries and, of course, parcels from the local area to the buyer’s door. I wonder how long it will be before we see little robots trundling along delivering the cosmetics you just virtually tested and ordered from your local supplier, in every suitable location.
Whatever the future of the workplace, though, there will always be the need for talented employees and great employers who are able to utilise the technology as it develops.
And we will be here to help them.