The journey from an emerging trend to an established new normal; remote work has become a standard that most businesses now exercise and are planning to combine with the traditional workspace, thus creating the hybrid workforce. As a blend of both in-office employees and specialized remote operations, this work modality seeks to reap the best of both worlds, acknowledging the benefits of each for specific business processes.
However, despite optimal working conditions and increased work productivity a hybrid work environment can provide, we are now faced with the question of whether our current technology infrastructure can support such a disruptive shift. And so, today, we’ll be going over what technical challenges we might face as a result thereof and what actions businesses and industries must take in response to remain advantageous regardless of the inherent risks.
We Have The Tech, But Many Companies Are Lagging Behind
We have come a long way in the realm of tech, and if we were to compare what we had a decade ago to the innovative solutions of modern time, countless pieces of equipment would be deemed vastly inferior and, in some cases, even obsolete. However, even though we have the technology infrastructure available, numerous companies and industries have lagged in the adoption of new tech and remaining with remnants of the past. Therefore, a considerable amount of time, effort, and resources would have to be appropriately allocated before we can come to a universal consensus that most businesses are operating at optimal capacity.
- The “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” Mindset: One reason behind the slow adoption of modern solutions is the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset, wherein companies consciously choose to utilize older equipment to further extend its useful life until it becomes unserviceable. And, while from an economic standpoint, it might make a bit of sense to employ such a principle, the loss of improving workload capacity from using older equipment still puts them on the losing end.
- Economic Downturn Pressures Existing Resources: Likewise, we acknowledge the efforts of many businesses during these trying times to pursue innovation and new technology, but the economic downturn faced by the current markets makes it near impossible for small to medium enterprises to invest an effective capital. As a result, even the most vigilant of companies find themselves stuck in the paradox of needing new tech to accumulate more resources but also needing resources to invest in new tech.
But If We Could Solve These, What Else Do We Face Next?
In theory, if we could magically alleviate the financial stressors preventing industries from adopting the latest technology, a hybrid workforce would still face certain challenges before it can match pre-pandemic productivity levels. Namely, these three emerging challenges would be (1)increased need for real-time monitoring of production, (2)human-centric technology and automation, and (3)advances in the adoption of virtual reality.
#1 Increased Need For Real-Time Monitoring of Production
Factories, warehouses, and the manufacturing industry, in general, are the backbone for many other relevant businesses. Still, a shift to a hybrid workforce would require improved real-time monitoring of production. A traditional shop floor would have multiple supervisors and concurrent managers keeping tabs on employees, but the same can’t be applied to employees working remotely. As a result, there would be an increased need for innovative manufacturing solutions that would allow the process of monitoring progress more accessible to offsite personnel.
#2 Human-Centric Technology And Automation
Unemployment and skills mismatch remain major threats to the jobs market. Amidst the uncertainty and volatility of the current global economy, we need human-centric technology and automation to complement a hybrid workforce. Yes, artificial intelligence and machine learning have come a long way in making automation possible. Still, we shouldn’t strive for technology that replaces people and instead value those that empower the operator to achieve more. A hybrid workforce demands technical equipment that enables them to match the same workload capacity regardless of distance and location.
#3 Advances in The Adoption of Virtual Reality
There’s no denying that virtual reality has remained in obscurity since its inception and is still a relative niche by today’s standards despite the vast opportunity for implementation across different sectors heavily impacted by Covid-19. However, if we were to effectively pursue a blend of the traditional work environment and remote work through a hybrid workforce, then the adoption of virtual reality is necessary. Industries must adapt and learn to utilize these immersive spaces that bar the need for physical touch in projects that wouldn’t normally be possible with seeing them up-close.
A Long Road Ahead
Overall, we definitely have a long road ahead before our technology infrastructure catches up to our current goals of implementing an effective hybrid workforce. However, in time and constant effort, it’s not that far off and will soon become the future of work.