In the last decade, the nature of work has been increasing in complexity. The proliferation of software has caused a surge in the number of apps one employee uses to get their work done. But the desired efficiency through tech adoption has been superficial — with more apps and software comes the problem of compromised security, data, and information, which are stored in multiple locations, sprawling communication across numerous channels. And with COVID-19 exacerbating the issue, there’s still a heavy reliance on often cumbersome tools, such as email and video conferencing, to collaborate.
As we shift to hybrid work environments, the level of complexity in the way we work will only increase. There are several changes or investments needed to power the hybrid workforce in this next phase of work. Here are the major ones:
Synchronous tools aren’t enough
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, work-from-home requirements forced millions of people to drastically transform the way they worked. Teams hastily adopted a wave of basic synchronous communications tools like Zoom, Slack, and Google Suite to keep people online and connected. According to a Wrike + Pulse survey, remote meeting technology (28%) and internal communication tools (27%) are the two most critical technologies adopted by organizations over the past nine months. These apps, for the time being, were sufficient to keep operations running.
However, organizations are gradually realizing the limitations of operating through a wide variety of non-integrated software with mixed employee adoption rates. Decentralized collaboration and reporting leads to communication breakdowns, missing files, and stifled productivity. The Wrike + Pulse research found that, even with remote meeting and comms tools deployed, leaders are still seeing challenges with engagement (56%), burnout (53%), and productivity (52%). When employee efficiency suffers, so do company revenue and customer satisfaction.
With the world now considering what the New Normal looks like, working models need to change to accommodate extended, long-term remote teams alongside in-person operations. Hybrid collaboration will shape the future of work, and organizations need to be prepared to support it by investing in more sophisticated workplace technology.
Pioneers of a new frontier
For many companies, AI represents the vanguard of future work management solutions and the key to an entirely new work environment. 85% of IT leaders expect their overall IT budget to increase or stay the same this year, and Gartner forecasts worldwide IT spend to grow 6.2%.
With companies now responsible for defining what a return-to-office plan may look like, they’re tackling critical workplace issues like productivity challenges and employee burnout. They’re primarily doing this through the use of new technology, which is a requirement for enabling hybrid work. The difficulty lies in precisely identifying the issues and finding the perfect solutions to address them.
AI-enabled collaboration solutions allow teams to work as one
When asked why leaders invested or will invest in remote work technologies, it all comes back to collaboration. The Wrike + Pulse survey indicated that 59% of respondents want to make it easier for employees to collaborate, 51% want to make sure said collaboration is secure, and 46% want to enable external collaboration. Because of this, AI-enabled collaborative work and project management technologies have become the number one priority for enabling remote work, with 58% of leaders planning to implement or increase investment in this software over the next 12 months.
Organizations need a secure, long-term solution that can support any number of teams in any location, while providing comprehensive project management and a single source of truth from a unified platform. The solution should be a collaborative work management platform that’s sustainable and scalable, as models implemented now will impact processes and productivity for years to come.
It’s important for companies to employ a platform that supports distributed work across a variety of teams and use cases, while allowing data flows, reporting, and governance across the organization. It’s time for companies to overcome challenges by equipping employees with the digital workplace solution they need to do their best work and stay productive.
Driving the future of work using AI-enabled technology
One downside to data is that there’s more of it than we can possibly comprehend. Humans don’t have the brainpower needed to accurately predict budgets and resource needs, optimize the structure of team and work allocation, summarize activities, and predict where best to prioritize work.
AI can do many things well that humans can’t, but it’s not intended to replace the human. Rather, it’s to enhance the human’s judgment. AI automates what we can do and frees us up to do higher-value tasks. With all of the complexity added to work given the new hybrid workforces, AI can significantly improve the way we work.