The future of work will be a critical competitive differentiator in the wake of the pandemic. Meanwhile, technology leaders are becoming increasingly concerned not only with tech’s impact on the productivity of employees, but also their well-being and engagement.
These are among the conclusions shared by experts from Intel, Aternity and GlobalData at a recent Tech Monitor roundtable discussion, in which business technology executives discussed the competencies, technologies, devices and innovations that will shape the future of work and the future workplace.
Cyrus Mewawalla, head of thematic research at business intelligence provider GlobalData, described the future of work as one of the research and analyst company’s ‘mega themes’ – the most critical of the issues that are keeping CEOs awake at night.
“Our research shows that companies that invest in the right themes become success stories, and those that miss the big themes in their industry ultimately fail,” Mewawalla said. “Covid-19 and the future of work are interconnected because every CEO of every company in the world knows they need a tech-enabled business; they need to change the way we work.”
Mewawalla said that collaboration and automation are two of the five pillars of the future of work in GlobalData’s view, along with visualisation, connectivity and interpretation.
Using technology to enable teamwork across geography and departments would sort the winners and losers, while Mewawalla added that automation technologies would complement rather than replace human labour. “Robots will perform more and more tasks in offices, warehouses, hospitals and retail stores,” he said. “It will rebalance the workload between humans and machines.”
The device and the future of work
Intel client compute group director, Jeff Kilford, previously director of EMEA IT at the tech giant, said that the traditional pressures on IT organisations – such as keeping control of costs and responding to a complex cyberthreat landscape – had evolved to encompass the employee experience and well-being. “When you add up the forces, it is a complex landscape, and that complexity is multiplied by putting a pandemic lens over it,” Kilford said.
The capabilities of employee devices are critical, Kilford added, from helping to mitigate cyberthreats but also as part of the conversation around attracting and retaining the best talent to work for your organisation. The device is the aperture for how employees engage with the company, Kilford said.
Tech leaders’ role in the employee experience
Intel has partnered with experience management experts Aternity to improve the device and user experience elements in its future-of-work initiatives. The companies joined together to “provide the best silicon foundation and capabilities, and the best insights that digital experience management experts can bring,” said Kilford.
Carl Helling, vice-president of strategic alliances and market development at Aternity, added that organisations are seeing a “shift in transformation around employee wellness and employee happiness” rather than simply providing adequate tools to enable remote and hybrid working environments. IT leaders are therefore engaging much more with HR and occupational health conversations, and considering the impact technology is having on the future of work and the future workplace.