2018 Predictions: The Future is Visual, Flexible & Collaborative
Remote work is here to stay. From third-party research to analyst reports to our own study, it’s clear that the ways in which people work today extends beyond the confines of the desk. But what does that mean going forward, particularly when many would venture to say the future of work – at least as it pertains to the four walls of an office – has already arrived?
More companies will embrace video
There’s a reason we call Generation Z the App Generation – as digital natives, they’ve grown up on smartphones with apps and Wi-Fi. The workforce is mobile, and it’s here to stay. In fact, according to our Breaking Barriers 2020 report, 88 percent of workers use smartphones daily, and 75 percent of the App Generation wants to be able to use the latest technology at work. With this in mind, we’ll see more companies meet future employees where they are, leveraging the tool they are most comfortable with – video.
With apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook, this generation embraces the drive for connection and companies will be “video ready” to support this. It’s important, therefore, for enterprises to evaluate video conferencing solutions on quality and usability, as well as the security of the solution and its ease of integration. You can find more in-depth information about that here.
The last mile of digital transformation
While technology has advanced rapidly over the last decade, the nature of the workplace hasn’t quite kept the same pace. As companies continue to usher in new processes and tools to help achieve their digital transformation goals, the role of the CIO has changed drastically. CIOs today are responsible for all areas of a company, not just decision making on IT systems, but also managing financials, developing policy and strategy, and in some cases, recruiting.
According to our CIO Outlook report released at the beginning of 2017, 96 percent of CIOs at the time predicted having a formal cloud strategy in place by the end of this year. As CIOs continue to work with IT departments and executives on refining broader business processes, strategy and execution moving into 2018, we’ll see them rise to the occasion to champion larger operational changes over what many enterprises are experiencing as the last mile of digital transformation.
No longer a work day, but a work week
As employees and their companies embrace remote work, the work day will continue to be more fluid in 2018. The fact that employees can be productive using collaboration tools wherever they may be means they can be available when it’s most convenient for them. Need to pick up the kids from daycare? Have to schedule a last-minute doctor’s appointment? This fluidity creates greater flexibility for the employee and shifts how we think about work: from a place we go to something we do.
As part of this shift, we will expect to see employees and businesses starting to set clearer boundaries. It’s important for individuals to know their limits, and for companies to trust that they are being productive. We’ll see more businesses looking to data and analytics as a quantitative measure of this increased productivity.
Virtual reality is coming
Over the next three years, we’ll see VR become more evident in the workplace. Leveraging VR, even by a simple image overlay, can help people understand and engage with ideas. For example, think of an apartment layout where you can see the space in 3D and place appropriately sized furniture.
Enterprises will begin to use VR for sales and customer enablement training. Rather than flying a group to an offsite location to review training materials – and, as we all know, all day meetings with documents and presentations can be boring – corporations can leverage VR to train individuals wherever they may be in an engaging, real-time way.
Analysts have predicted greater migration of business communications to the cloud over the next five years. In 2017, IDG reported that nearly 20 percent of organizations were planning to migrate their collaboration and conferencing solutions to the cloud.
What does this mean for the enterprise? In short, they must double-down on consolidating their communications platforms to streamline support, achieve greater adoption and simplify their communications stack. We’ll see this take greater shape in 2018 as businesses look for proven, all-in-one solutions that help improve business continuity while reducing cost.
The next phase of the “future of work” is coming, and the changes we’ll start to see in 2018 will be just the tip of the iceberg. As technology continues to evolve and become more personalized, the way employees go about their daily lives, both personally and professionally, will also shift. The next 12 months will bring about great change, but we’re primed to see more growth in 2019 and beyond.
What do you think the future of work holds in 2018? Tweet your thoughts to @Fuze.
Want more predictions? Check out this piece from our CIO Chris Conry on what’s top of mind for CIOs in 2018.