The pandemic redefined many aspects of the way we live, work, and socialise. As the Covid-19 lockdowns gripped our world in the early months of 2020, organisations responded with a work-from-home mandate for the safety of their employees.
It was a wise and ethical decision, although implementing it was not easy. Ensuring that employees could work from any remote location as seamlessly as they did at the office required an immediate and sophisticated IT infrastructure to be implemented.
This infrastructure had to consist of a robust network of computers, mobiles, and other devices and an always-on wi-fi connection that allowed for group meetings with employees from various locations.
It also had to consider the varied applications and cybersecurity capabilities needed to protect against malware and cyber-attacks, while needing to be installed super-quick to keep businesses running “as usual”.
In the process, this became a key factor in organisational success.
Liam Ryan, Vice President – Sales and Marketing at APAC at US-based technology company, Ivanti, says it’s nearly impossible to overstate the importance of tech at work right now. “Work tech is gaining importance and will continue to do so, and investments can be expected to ramp up accordingly.”
During an interaction with People Matters, Ryan shares some of the key considerations to focus on while making an investment in work tech this year, role played by technology innovations in strengthening work culture, employee engagement recognition and collaboration, digital readiness of talent and empowering digitally ready organisations as we embrace the future of work.
Work tech in the emerging hybrid ecosystem
Though remote work predated the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in the world of tech, the pandemic firmly established a location-agnostic work culture. Today, hybrid mode work is a popular choice for organisations looking to help the workforce maintain a better work/life balance and reduce stress. For organisations, there’s evidence that remote and hybrid work increases productivity and retain talent.
The hybrid mode demands more use of technology and digital software, which increases the importance of tech at work. Work tech helps collaboration among team members, leaders and HR. Effective use of technology enables organisations to function smoothly, increase employee satisfaction, and facilitate a sense of belonging.
That sense of belonging has never been more critical now that the world is physically disconnected but technologically more connected than ever before. Technology has bridged geographic gaps and enabled people to work effectively without regard for location. This impact spans nearly every vertical industry and has transformed the way the world thinks about hiring, onboarding, career development, engagement, and productivity.
Technology has also been fundamental to enabling digital transformation and migration to the cloud, though these shifts have also invited new and worsening cybersecurity and cloud security challenges.
Consider these when investing in work tech
Ryan shares some of the key considerations to focus on while making an investment:
Business alignment: Ensure that innovation resonates with your organisational environment, work culture and nature of the business.
Potential uptick: The technology and innovation you are implementing must have the potential to make your operations run smoother and more effectively.
Profitability and risk: Consider your return on investment and the risks involved while making an investment.
Before deciding on and implementing work technology, factor in affordability, customisation, ease of use, security features, functions, compatibility, and mobility.
Accelerating digital adoption
Digital technology is becoming more complex by the day. This can make adoption prohibitively complex for employees who do not have the required skill set. “The rise of ransomware and other cyber threats are another significant factor. Leadership needs to protect their organisations from cyber breaches, ransomware, and malware attacks,” says Ryan.
Role of CTO in balancing sustainability and digitisation
A CTO is responsible for developing, managing, evaluating, and implementing the company’s technological resources.
With digital acceleration and transformation on the rise, the need for effective tech management and leadership increases.
Ryan says the CTO must:
- Innovate, experiment, have a clear vision, and rethink how the business can be conducted with the changing variables.
- Empower people and prepare them for what’s now and what’s next.
- Communicate with employees and provide them with training appropriate to their roles and tools.
- Streamline and optimise processes.
- Create a digital-first corporate culture.
- Identifying the right-fit technology as a part of the digital transformation strategy.
Bridging the digital divide
Digital employee experience (DEX) is fundamental to organisational success in the new work landscape. Without seamless access and the ability for employees to connect, engage, and complete their work with ease, both productivity and loyalty suffer.
Ryan says CXOs need to prioritise DEX and must include training for existing employees and onboarding for new employees that helps those people understand and engage with the technology.
“Of course, it’s imperative that the right technology is in place to begin with,” he adds.
Leveraging digital tools to enhance employee engagement and recognition
Technology is a greater leveller. With newer collaboration tools available, interpersonal collaboration has enhanced dramatically over the last couple of years. “Conducting online meetings with customers and peers; colleagues engaging in collaborative activities; and holding teambuilding and recreational activities like game night or movie night helped employees meet their social needs and feel connected with the organisation,” says Ryan.
Ryan adds that a feeling of belonging and engaging with the corporate culture has always been crucial for an enterprise’s identity.
“Recognition has also shifted during the pandemic. No longer is someone standing up in front of a room of peers receiving a plaque or a round of applause. Digital recognition capabilities are better than ever and might include branded item shops, digital rewards, and callouts in online meetings or publications,” he adds.
Empowering digitally ready organisations as we embrace the future of work
Organisations must continuously evolve in the way they operate, modifying and creating innovative processes to keep pace with employee and enterprise needs. Ryan says the digital world is both simplifying and complicating operations. The right tools and the right training are imperative to increase understanding, loyalty, productivity, and efficiency—and, ultimately, facilitate business success.