Tag: working

By Amritesh Anaand, associate VP – pre sales at In2IT Technologies

The dramatic shift in the world of work over the past two years has seen many more people moving to a remote workforce model at least part of the time. Technology has been a key enabler in this ‘new normal’ with the adoption of cloud collaboration tools driving this capability. However, facilitating the remote workforce is not just about providing communication and remote collaboration. Instead, organisations need to effectively handle secure access to data and tools as well as multiple security challenges and network scalability issues. While there are many tools and solutions available for this, there is no cut and dried approach that will meet every business’ needs. The right IT partner has become essential.

Next-generation collaboration

Gone are the days when employees were tied to their desk, leaving only for meetings and events. Today’s employees are always on the move, working flexible hours and interacting with their company and its customers and suppliers, from just about anywhere. This makes Unified Communications (UC) a critical productivity-enhancing tool that facilitates collaboration in this new hybrid workforce.

Some might argue that distributed collaboration has become more productive than in-person meetings, and this is especially true when Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are integrated into collaboration tools. With AI and ML, collaboration becomes more intelligent and enhances productivity – for example, when you join a meeting, your last conversation can be made instantly available, or the last whiteboard from your team space can automatically be included in a new virtual meeting.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach

While some organisations have moved away from fully remote working toward a hybrid office-remote scenario, the investments intime and technology and the cost savings and productivity enhancements realised mean that the remote work trend is now here to stay. Organisations that have embraced digital transformation are realising greater success in this new world, as they are better able to meet the changing needs of their customers, and those that have not needed to catch up.

However, there is no single blueprint that all organisations can follow to ‘enable’ transformation. The tools and technologies that are required to fill the gap depend on what an organisation already has in place, what their collaboration requirements are, which applications need to be accessed remotely, and more. It is also important to have a secure connection to access applications remotely. The specific environment, network and data architecture, compliance requirements and many other factors will determine the optimal solution to effectively enabling the remote workforce.

Your IT partner is invaluable

Given the complexities involved in effectively facilitating the remote workforce and delivering the right blend of communication and collaboration tools, having a trusted IT partner has become essential. The reality is that effective collaboration is not just about a platform and a Virtual Private Network (VPN), it is about getting the right tools and access in place, supported by the appropriate controls and processes. Your IT partner will enable you to leverage end-to-end collaboration with effective security practices, a network that scales to meet requirements and has sufficient bandwidth, and appropriate access control, to mitigate the inherent risks of a remote workforce.

The reality is that irrespective of the pandemic, digital technologies are the future. By proactively preparing and supporting the shifting digital landscape, organisations will be in a far better position to be competitive no matter what happens. The pandemic has simply highlighted the need to be more adaptable and flexible and that embracing next-generation technologies can provide far between results than we could have imagined.

Cities all around the world are becoming job creating entrepreneurial hubs in their own right thanks to a rise in digital connectedness and spaces for like minded people to work in stimulating environments.

Linda Trim, director at FutureSpace, says: “If cities want a chance at economic development they first need to focus on attracting and keeping good people. We need to figure out ways to make people happier, safer, healthier, more productive and able to function better as human beings. This is why cities need shared workspaces and coworking now more than ever.”

Shared workspaces are hubs of innovation
In a rapidly moving world, there is huge demand for innovation from disruptive ideas to build businesses, create jobs and attract talent. Innovation also tends to inspire further innovation as is evident in places like Silicon Valley.

“This virtuous cycle comes from the ability to look at a problem in a new way. And for this, nothing is better than the diversity of perspectives you get in a coworking space. Some of the most disruptive concepts and applications come from people outside the industry. For example Netflix, hosted a $1m Innovation Contest to improve their movie recommendation algorithm.

A team comprised of researchers from the United States, Austria, Canada, and Israel took home the $1 Million prize for their matching algorithm that improved recommendations by 10%.

“That’s why it’s so important to have spaces where people of different backgrounds can interact.”

But it’s not just entrepreneurs and small businesses who benefit. Large corporations are setting up satellite offices in coworking spaces too. They want to immerse their employees in a more progressive culture, where they can share ideas with people outside the company and industry. These new ideas may kick off a cycle of innovation within the corporation.

“Corporations also look to hire and develop new talent within shared workspaces. They might even seek to acquire an entire startup if it makes sense. By setting up in coworking spaces, corporations give themselves access to ideas and talent they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Shared Workspaces as an Economic Development Tool
Shared workspaces have a direct and indirect impact on the 3 key economic development stakeholders: entrepreneurs, corporations and the cities themselves.

“Entrepreneurs need a supportive ecosystem to thrive. An entrepreneur can often find these things in a coworking space and through the connections they make there. Shared workspaces therefore are an incubator for new businesses,” says Trim.

New businesses create jobs and are economic engines for cities. Corporations grow by acquiring those new businesses, or partnering up with them to create breakthrough innovations. This collaboration creates more density, vibrancy and resources that help the cities thrive.

Trim adds the trend for mobile working was also driving the demand for coworking places as fewer companies around the world want people to come in to an office each day.

“These rapid changes carry serious consequences for cities as well as workers. Namely, how do we help workers feel connected when they can work from anywhere in the world? Cities that want to compete for talent need more coworking space.”

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