Some might say remote working is overstated ,some might say that what's new in it and some may condemn it but you love it or you hate it you cannot ignore this concept in the current scenario. Yes, coronavirus (COVID-19) has given a testing bed to remote working and modification and development of new business models around collaboration in seclusion. When earlier remote working was frowned upon by many and some claimed that there are bottlenecks which are required to be overcome but now business continuity plans are being thought upon in this direction and existing platform based businesses are trying to leverage this opportunity.
Video Conference to Augmented Reality
With the global coronavirus outbreak; many cities are under lock-down condition, innocent people are losing their lives and their near and dear ones also. Global economic conditions are gloomy,supply chains have dried up , the clinical trials of the potential drugs are being done and the cure will take around 1.5-2 years to reach common people. Keeping these situations in mind what approaches could be taken, so that in future these roadblocks can be overcome with ease. Can digital transformation or technological advancement be combined in business day to day activities and the science fiction becomes a reality which will be embraced by everyone and it will become the new normal. Lets see what might the new future work environment would look like and how business policies and models are being updated by platform providers to seize the opportunity.
Face to face meetings are being discouraged and video conferencing is becoming the new normal, for example Zoom is leveraging this opportunity and stepped forward by providing free services. This video conferencing culture used by businesses and schools with increase in demand will see New product development opportunities as more and more people will use new opportunities and business requirements will come to surface and thus giving a growth option for these tools. Gradually video conferencing will be modified by AR/ VR into meetings with superimposed 3D images of the person and the person wouldn't have to worry about what background is visible like in case of video conferencing which by the way in zoom you can change but still it's not seamless as of now but currently it's a learning period and with more and more users using it more product enhancements will be done to serve the customers. As these meetings will be done remotely no need to worry about traffic jams and pollution caused by vehicles because vehicles will be required only when needed to commute for specific purposes.
ME Time & Creativity
Remote working culture will give people time for families and flexibility to work as and when required to finish tasks which will also help in mental health which has recently got traction in many institutions. Some will argue that remote working drains a person as they keep working for long hours but if remote working gets widely accepted and becomes a normal process in future then policies to cater to these long working hours can be implemented. For example systems would track working hours and will not allow more than a certain working hours for a day or a week. Beyond this threshold limit of working hours if anyone would like to access the special permission would be required. With upcoming changes in scenarios new policies will be made for employees benefits and this will also give businesses food for thought and encourage them to push their limits. New processes will be introduced in work environments which will be based on remote working and incentives for employees will be designed based on this.
Already many people have become a part of gig economy but this remote working will enhance the possibilities of more gig workers coming into picture . Firms will think on modifying the policies to support the gig workers and new labour laws will come into picture .
Gamification of Education
Ed-tech like Coursera, Byju, Udemy, EdX have already grabbed the opportunity and leveraging on the current situation by coming forward and helping the institutes to continue their courses online via their platform. This has a potential to bring a change in the way education is provided around the world from school to college levels. For school children it will be a boon as they will study from home and their remotely working parents can also become a part of their studies and guide them, thus giving rise to interaction and bonding. Students will have flexibility and the whole thing will be actually study along with having fun i.e. gamification of education services. Many will argue what is stopping students ;now also they are doing this but the main problem is how many have accepted it as main stream, for them it's an additional service which is nice to have but not as must have. The adoption by people in large numbers in current scenario will trigger its use and thus bring forward the pros and cons. This has a potential to make education reachable and accessible to all but all these tech enabled options will not only require infrastructure but proper network connectivity to work. There will be questions regarding children not able to play, but there emerges another opportunity to collaborate in isolation like yoga or cardio exercises being arranged via augmented reality.
More space for living
No need of workspace required and in place of offices these places can give shelter to many homeless people. Now some will come and give data in remote work though the productivity increases but still the people want to meet colleagues and data supports this fact that time spend with colleagues apart from work increase happiness. So small office places can be created where every weekend people from various teams can gather and have small get together and fun sessions to de-stress.
Growth of Industrial IOT
Some may ask what about operations in factories? Many factories are already automated and with increase in adoption of Industrial IOT the supply chain can be monitored and breakdowns can be monitored and repaired using Arficial intelligence in future. Tracking, monitoring and fulfillment of supply chain could be expected to be done remotely in near future with advent of technologies like edge computing, quantum computing etc.
We need to keep in mind that nothing is impossible and every problem will have a solution only one needs to have the urge to keep trying. With business 4.0 and technological advancements we can not only find solutions to challenges put forward but must also keep in mind to take care of our mother Earth by following the sustainable development goals (SDG).