The pandemic has disrupted our usual perceptions of the workplace by running one of the largest corporate experiments in recent memory. With each passing day, technologies become ever more critical to business operations and redefine working patterns.
Migration to remote offices and the large-scale implementation of machine learning could ultimately create a new framework of the workplace that would require profound changes to in-demand skillsets, as well as new approaches to management and day-to-day interactions.
This year could lay the foundation for even more dramatic changes in the future. Therefore, identifying and describing ongoing trends could be critical for employers and employees if they want to create valuable opportunities or improve their own competitiveness in the post-pandemic job market.
Mechanical Learning/Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence, or AI, and machine learning have both been around for a long time. AI already acts as a driving force behind video games and interactive apps, and is widely used in our daily lives — from Google searches to the personalized suggestions from Spotify, and even in the security process for fraudulent credit card activities. This tool supplies the ability to successfully conduct a wide range of human-like processes, including facial recognition, writing (chatbots), and even speaking (Alexa).
While the application of AI had been growing, its wide-scale use seemed like a matter of the future. The pandemic, however, changed the calculus and increased the integration of AI into daily activities throughout multiple areas, including those that have little to do with the tech sector. The migration to task management software and even greater reliance on data aggregators in times of stay-at-home policies has helped advanced technologies to further transcend existing corporate boundaries.
In the post-vaccine era, AI will likely become even more integrated into the work force and will boost its productivity and efficiency thanks to higher rates of automation. The latter will become more adaptable to learning new tasks on an assembly line or even incorporate new safety standards. Little wonder that familiarity with the concept will ultimately shift away from a useful perk to a common skill that will become relevant throughout all strands of corporate seniority.
The transition to remote work has been accompanied by a new level of mobility. Thanks to 5G, today’s average employee likely has a workplace equipped with high-speed Internet and other useful devices. By definition it is the fifth generation of cellular network technology that supplies us with faster and more stable wireless access, as well as the improved ability to connect more devices and enable bigger streams of data. This allows us to successfully perform our duties at almost any place that offers stable internet and at least some form of comfort. According to CNBC, some companies might go as far as open regional hubs or provide access to co-working spaces as an alternative to traditional office space.
The spread of 5G technology and its enhanced implementation across enterprises of different levels will contribute to even more profound shifts in work patterns. There are some estimates predicting that 5G will have 100 times the speed of 4G, which will greatly boost the mobile workforce. In times of stay-at-home policies, the speed and quality of connectivity emerge as essential factors behind operational efficiency.
Web-based content management systems (CMS) and online spreadsheets are another important feature of today’s mobile workplace. Thanks to them, managers can remain connected to their office and colleagues, monitor day-to-day productivity and effectively delegate new assignments. While in pre-pandemic times many of us still nurtured undisguised skepticism towards such systems, those times seem to be gone for good.
Amid the pandemic, networking and mobile technologies have emerged as the backbone of our workplaces. New technologies likewise allow us to increase coverage and end a constant stream of real-time data back and forth between colleagues, including cloud services and more. These tools allow us to work without any attachment to a geographic location and reach the same (or even higher) level of productivity without leaving one’s apartment, or even bedroom. It is evident that this trend will become increasingly more widespread, and it is about time to get used to it now.
Digitalization has recently hit new highs and started transcending new areas of implementation. It is becoming the new norm both in and outside of the workplace thanks to our growing reliance on smartphones and other devices. At some point, most of our activities will become digital — from communications via emails and chats, to targeted marketing campaigns focusing solely on internet-based demographics.
The scale of ongoing disruption catalyzes new and unorthodox requirements in day-to-day engagements with technology. Although tech skills have been growing in the past, pandemic-related shifts in the workplace have significantly expanded demand for this skillset.
In the future, tech is set to become even more important and will equally impact tech and non-tech professionals. As a result, securing at least some knowledge of the Internet of Things, big data and data science and artificial intelligence/machine learning is becoming a matter of success and failure. In the upcoming years, demand for these skills will only increase, making tech education a wise investment to make right now.