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Editor’s Question: How will technology adapt further to enhance remote working?

Editor’s Question: How will technology adapt further to enhance remote working?

AnalysisDigital TransformationThought LeadershipTop Stories

Ian Jansen van Rensburg, Senior Systems Engineer and Lead Technologist at VMware Sub-Saharan Africa, explains how working from anywhere is the future of the workplace.

When one mentions remote working, the following technology comes to mind: Virtual Reality, single identity, virtual private networks, videoconferencing, file sharing, messaging, AI and Machine Learning, time tracking tools, encrypted data, 4G and 5G.

The way we work is changing, and our perception of distributed working has shifted, but the future won’t be about remote working. Remote working often means taking office-based employees and enabling them to work from home. Whereas, the future-ready workforce looks at fully embracing the concept of being an ‘anywhere organisation’, and that requires culture and physical changes if organisations are going to be profitable and competitive in the near future.

It is crucial that businesses have the right leadership, culture and policies in place to ensure they attract and retain the talent they need. This new way of working has demonstrated proven benefits for employees through happiness, productivity and more frequent collaboration.

Technology is the key enabler for staff to work remotely. Employees should have a seamless and effortless experience when working from anywhere. Technologies like video conferencing programs, file-sharing platforms, project management software, time tracking tools, new adaptive analytics and secure data access are helping employees who work from home. Only five years ago, many remote workers started each day with the time consuming ‘prework’ of prioritising their daily tasks, decisions often disconnected from whatever was happening at the main office.

With adaptive analytics, employees can log in to a system that has arranged tasks for them. Artificial Intelligence and advanced analytics enable employees to access the corporate work environment as if they were in the office.

The Internet affected numerous aspects of modern-day life. As technology races to bring more innovation into offices around the world, the landscape slightly changes each time, making work easier and more effective. One of the most important aspects of remote working is addressing what smart devices the employees will use to have access to applications and files.

Another area of technology that will expand in the future is Virtual Reality. While not meeting the remote workforce’s expectations now, the technology has the power to further expand the value of communication. A virtual business meeting is a perfect example of taking things to the next level.

Education and training programmes can prove to be more productive experiences than in-person meetings, where immersive and interactive simulations ensure information is readily available and easily digestible for collaboration and sharing.

5G is a promising development that should scale up the flexibility of working with a smartphone or laptop from any location. Its predecessor, 4G, has already done a decent job at this, but it leaves a lot to be desired.

The role of technology in everyday life is fundamental, opening seemingly endless possibilities. In business terms, along with tangible benefits, it created an expectation that a worker should have the freedom to work remotely, without the constraints of an office desk or a time zone. And the truth is that people love working remotely. As more specialised professionals demand more freedom in regard to their work schedules and locations, we see companies introduce remote working policies instead of their traditional policies in order to keep up with this globally accepted practice. The future of remote working is here.

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