How Technology has Changed the Workplace Post-COVID

How Technology has Changed the Workplace Post-COVID

This week, a software company called Video Window announced a new addition to its product line, called Video Window Remote. Similar to Zoom and Skype, many of Video Window's products focus on internet-based video communication. This new product ups the ante, so speak, by playing a continuous feed of a worker's office directly onto their home devices. This gives the impression of being part of the office environment, even if someone is working remotely. Tech Crunch, the popular consumer tech magazine linked above, says that it allows employees working remotely to better interact with their in-office counterparts in real time. The app, "gives the water cooler experience that many remote workers feel they are missing by not being in the office."

Following nation-wide lock down and shelter-in-place orders due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many workers who were confined to their offices in the past have now moved most if not all of their work to their homes. This has led to a realization among both companies and workers that conventional working arrangements, in which employees are mandated to stay in the office during certain days and intervals, may not be as necessary today as they were in the past. As a result, there is much discussion on the possibility of a hybrid form of work, in which employees split their work time between an office and their homes. Of course, this isn't viable for every sector, but for many service and knowledge sector jobs, this could become the norm. As such, any enterprise that wishes to hybridize its labor needs to plan ahead in order to transition into this novel form of working.

Remote Working Infrastructure

There are numerous technological components, both in terms of hardware and in terms of software, needed to run smoothly when many people at a firm are working remotely. Firstly, this requires everyone to have access to a device that is capable of video conferencing. While it's true that mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, are more common than they were a decade ago, it's not always reasonable to assume that every single employee would have easy access to such technology, especially if their work duties don't normally rely on communications tech. In such cases, a firm will need to decide if they want to provide their employees with company issued devices or if they're going to mandate their employees to buy a personal device with video conference capabilities if they don't have one. Devices can be expensive, so budgeting for them isn't always easy, and mandating employees to buy expensive devices could potentially undermine staff morale.

Moreover, hardware considerations aren't limited to personal devices. A large remote workforce still has to meet and coordinate, so many workplaces will need to invest in cameras, monitors, audio equipment like conference microphones and speakers, as well as space to hold virtual meetings. Firms who do not have experience working remotely may not now where to begin.

The same holds true for software. Zoom, and many other video conferencing services, often have free memberships, which grant limited access to the software's' features. For example, a free Zoom membership allows a user to set-up meetings with other users, but limits the amount of time the meeting can last. Paying a full Zoom subscription, by comparison, removes meeting time limits, and allows meeting hosts greater options when it comes to security and meeting management. Investing in a business license of a product like Zoom, so that every employee and manager has free reign to use the software, is likely an investment any firm that relies on a large number of remote workers will need to consider.

There are some other things to consider as well. After all, employees still need to meet deadlines and carry out their duties. In the absence of a worker's physical presence, managers will need a way of tracking work progress and productivity. This may require new infrastructure in the form a project management software or some other mechanism to track progress on various projects. It may also warrant changes in employee time keeping and job costing, both which can be tracked using modern software.

One thing's for certain--remote work is here to stay. As such, there are methods a firm can use to set up its remote working infrastructure in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible. Having a managed IT provider is one way to confront the many necessary changes in this new, post-pandemic normal. If you'd like to learn about how Titan Tech can help your business, visit their website.

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