The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused many unprecedented changes to the workplace. One thing for sure is that it has equally affected employees, employers, and the workplace. Amid the mayhem and uncertainty, however, there’s been an emergence of tools and technological advancements that have helped keep the workplace afloat.
Regardless of who you are, you may feel uncertain about the feature. This article discusses how organizations transitioning back to business as usual will be shaped by technology’s more prominent role in the workplace after COVID-19.
What’s The Role Of Technology In The Workplace?
In this context, technology can be broadly defined as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes in the workplace. Technology can improve a business or organization, making it more efficient and productive. Regardless of what you’re using—a word processer, accounting or graphic design software, or internet services—technology could help make your work easier.
Although it may seem intimidating, technology is an integral part of any business. Ignoring the impact of technology on the workplace could cost you time and money. The following are some of the advantages of technology for businesses:
- It makes business operations more efficient.
- It helps ensure accuracy and precision.
- It gives competitive advantages in the marketplace.
- It improves business communication and collaboration.
- It helps with innovation and creativity.
- It increases the security of business information.
- It could improve team productivity.
The coronavirus created many opportunities for innovators to create technologies that bridge the gap between the traditional workplace and the new normal.
The Impact Of COVID-19 On The Workplace
Some of the effects of COVID-19 on the workplace include the following:
- changing workstations
- limiting participants in physical meetings
- reinforcing measures to keep the workplace clean and sterile
- creating safety protocols and providing guidelines for employees
- implementing mandatory physical distancing
- checking the employees’ temperature before admitting them into the workplace
- discriminating employees suspected of having COVID-19
- closing the workplace during lockdowns
- terminating contracts for certain hands-on jobs
- remapping strategies for keeping the business going.
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on employment. It has increased the rate of redundancies and uncertainty, which has left many employees and businesses at risk.
However, the coronavirus has also proved that there can be new and effective ways of working in the workplace. In certain industries, technology has even effectively enabled some offices to continue operations remotely.
How The Workplace Will Look Post-COVID-19
Below are some of the ways technology will shape the workplace after the COVID-19 pandemic:
Work Away From Work
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most people find themselves working from home. A positive takeaway from the experience of adopting work-from-home arrangements was that organizations realized that they could indeed operate remotely.
To effectively work as a team, despite the members being far away from each other, technology has to be employed. Technological tools used to coordinate and monitor working from home include virtual meetings, video conferencing, group texting, emailing, and group phone calls.
Technology has allowed working from home to be effective. Remote employees don’t have to worry about commuting to and from work. And they’re more likely to continue working throughout their lunch break. This has helped some organizations cut costs related to operating office spaces and reduce the spread of the virus simultaneously.
Depending on the nature of their businesses, some companies may choose to not reopen their doors and continue working remotely post-COVID-19. To be successful, they’ll need to integrate their technology to achieve a seamless system that supports staff working from the office and those working from home.
Smart Buildings Take On New Meaning
If there’s one thing the global health crisis taught the world, it’s the importance of having a greater awareness of health and safety. With the improved focus on safe workplaces, most organizations are likely to resort to smart buildings.
Smart workspaces use automated processes to improve the operations of buildings, from the air conditioning, heating, to the lighting and security. The use of smart buildings is one thing to look out for post-COVID-19.
Socially Distanced Workplace
The social distancing mantra is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic, don’t expect to go back to the traditional work setting. There’ll likely be an implementation of new socially distanced workplaces, with sensing hardware equipped with analytics that could plan seating arrangements based on physical-distancing guidelines or regulations.
Ultimately, buildings with advanced technology will support the health and environmental sustainability of the workplace while also offering a better overall experience for the workers.
The COVID-19 restrictions have increased the demand for digital solutions that enable companies to provide safe working environments for their employees. Some of the most commonly used apps provide support for administrative tasks like booking meeting rooms and finding available desks. Still, further developments in these technological solutions will likely include new functions.
For example, some safe distancing apps create office maps and pinpoint busy areas to help prevent crowding in communal facilities. Other apps that could play a critical role in the post-COVID era include:
- Employee geolocation apps
- Near-field communication apps
- Lift systems via smartphones
- Cashless workplace canteens.
The company-wide implementation of these apps will be critical in how businesses resume and improve operations.
Touchless technology, such as hands-free soap dispensers and automatic doors, was already a common feature in most workplaces, even before the pandemic. But now, as organizations start to return to work, strict hygiene measures and more focus on employee health will be in the spotlight.
Technology that enables staff to avoid contact with frequently used surfaces such as taps, keyboards, light switches, and lift buttons is becoming more critical to employers. Using touch-free technology reduces the chances of spreading viruses and the need to regularly clean surfaces.
Security swipe cards are likely to have added functionality to grant access to entry barriers and perform other tasks like calling for the lift and buying food at the canteen. Mobile applications could also work as personal remote controls in the workplace. The pandemic has made facial recognition a more preferable technology over the previously popular touch biometric scanners.
It won’t be a surprise if the post-COVID-19 era presents other hi-tech functions like voice recognition for inputting data in the office. Using voice recognition, you could book an appointment, a meeting room, or switch on the lights.
The Bottom Line
People needed to experience a global health crisis to implement much-needed changes in the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic brought the world’s attention to new hygienic ways of conducting business, and technology has also been at the forefront of these transformations. But don’t expect to see any major changes overnight. Technological advancements often take time to be developed and perfected. Whatever the case, expect the post-COVID-19 workplace to be different.