2021 and the Evolution of Workplace Tech

How the year that was has shifted the needs and wants of the digital and technological workplace integration

With extensive processes, unique rules and regulations, varying communication platforms and long hierarchical chains, businesses can often be viewed as autonomous mechanisms, operating alone. It can be easy to forget the human element of the business process. They are not devices simply programmed to turn over, but are run by individuals, influenced by factors, with preferences and social influences. The past decade has seen our lifestyle evolve significantly, with the rapid development of technology integrating our day to day activities. From the conception of smartphones, to artificial intelligence, the way we communicate and interact, manage finances, share contacts, files, music preferences, photos, even track consumer habits is all made possible using a simple palm-sized device. Accessibility of information is made further approachable, simplified and centralised with the use of technology and intelligence, such as The Cloud, QR codes etc.

Tech has re-designed the workflow of our social lives, shifting expectations and creating needs from previous wants, both in lifestyle and professional capacities.  It has increased productivity and efficiency to produce better, more controlled and quality results. A recent LinkedIn report from New York Times Bestselling Author & Managing Partner of Workplace Intelligence, Dan Schawbel, was released forecasting 2021 workplace tech trends, drafted to help prepare organizations for the future by collecting, assessing, and reporting the trends that will most impact them, equipping professionals with the insights they need to stay relevant in their professions. This report outlined the top three trends seen to play out in workplaces to be: the scaling of modern tech to meet worker’s mental health needs; employees demanding more from employers; and workers set to prioritise safety, security and health when evaluating employers.

1. Modern technologies scale to meet workers’ mental health needs. The Covid-19 pandemic perpetuated and worsened our mental health epidemic and has infected the workplace much like the virus, taking no prisoners. A study by Workplace Intelligence and Oracle discovered that workers believe this is “the most stressful year in history”, and TELUS found that three out of four workers have struggled at work due to anxiety caused by Covid-19. When employees suffer stress and other mental health issues they tend to turn towards technology before humans for support. The study found that over 80 percent of participants would prefer robots to humans because robots provide a judgment-free zone, an unbiased outlet for people to share their problems with, and quick answers to health-related questions. Technologies are so embedded in our daily work lives that we take them for granted, while they are already automating many of the tasks that we used to perform. Companies have already been partnering with wellness technology companies in order to scale workers’ ever-growing mental health needs, but what about physical health?

2. Employees are demanding more from their employers. Between our public health crisis and the economic recession, employees feel that their companies need to be part of the solution. Companies can no longer just be in business to make a profit; now they have to make a societal difference, especially during these times of hardship and political and social polarization. Companies have reacted by promoting a safe and healthy office environment for those employees who either would like to or have to, return to work. At Salesforce, employees are now required to fill out an online health survey, have their temperatures checked, and need to pass a screening before being allowed back in the office.

3. Workers are prioritizing safety, security, and health when evaluating employers. During Covid-19, employees expect companies to keep their facilities clean, communicate regularly about their reopening status, and maintain safe working conditions. When job seekers evaluate a job offer, they choose “safety of the work environment” over “opportunities for professional growth” and even the “quality of potential coworkers.” Companies that adhere to the governments national and localized guidelines will be more effective at recruiting and retaining talent right now because workers need to feel safe before they can feel good about doing their jobs and being part of an organization. Not every organization has prioritized the safety and well-being of its workforce. Companies like Nokia and PwC have used technology to ensure worker safety. Nokia has an automated elevator temperature detection solution to spot Covid-19 infections in buildings and PwC has an automated contact tracing tool that notifies employees who have been in contact with another worker who tested positive for the virus.

 

The common theme of these trends is the trust in technology and priority in health and wellness in the workplace. Bloomfield Technology prides itself on being at the cutting edge of technology. If there is one thing this year has taught us, it is that there is no one-size-fits-all solutions. As such, the team is invested in the exploration of the needs of consumers by identifying and navigating problems to tailor solutions to requirements.  One of the only thermal operators to offer multi-climate indoor and outdoor-functioning thermal devices, its dedication to extensive research and testing has revolutionised its ability to service the diverse needs of varying clients.

Constantly evolving, Bloomfield Tech’s advancement towards further integration and multi-faceted product use will continue to pioneer its sector in 2021, catering to the insights and findings established through consumer data and proactive research, globally to offer a holistic solution for businesses of all sizes and focuses.