November 17, 2021 — COVID-19 has changed America’s workforce in a fundamental, and most likely permanent way—and not adopting the “new normal” can be the difference between success and failure. More than half of American workers surveyed have said that given a choice, they would want to keep working from home even after the pandemic.(1) What began as a necessity has resulted in a refashioning of how work gets done.
Many experts believe that employees will continue to prioritize flexibility and safety, with the expectation that many old paradigms will be reconsidered—from the five-day workweek to the power dynamic between employers and employees.(2) Additionally, that shift has brought about changes in the use of technology which has in and of itself led to a cultural transformation in the workplace. Companies that do not adapt to this new reality are destined to fail.
“Some folks will work more efficiently remotely, and some will work more efficiently in the office. We think it's going to be a blend of that,” says Greg Spencer, Regional CTO for Technologent. “If companies can't figure out a way to transform the way they operate their business, and that includes transforming their people to make that evolution, those folks will get left behind.”
Companies are changing the way they function via more robotic process automation (RPA), more IT reliance, bigger IT departments and more cybersecurity. But employees may not be excited about embracing those shifts. Too often employees get comfortable with their current IT operations, and they don’t see how much a new approach can be more efficient. Companies need to overcome this fear of change by addressing its root cause—the concern that the people will be left behind and their jobs will disappear because of technological advances. Both training and counseling are essential to help employees embrace the transformation and ensure that companies remain agile and competitive.
Unfortunately, changes in automation, which are driving everything towards an application-focused approach, require companies to be patient in terms of realizing return on investment. Drawing the ROI models out requires the executives, and the boards of companies play the long game, believe in that path, and support it—it can take anywhere from six to 18 months before savings will be seen.
Employees affected by RPA and automation should be provided help and consultation to bring them up to speed on the new technology. Encourage them to view this change as a way to move to the next level of their job. When viewed as a career move, it gives them security and helps to overcome the fear of change. Technologent’s workforce has been using remote work for years and found that it leads to more productivity and efficiency. As a result of the pandemic, more people are now open to operating virtually. That doesn’t mean that remote connections don’t take discipline. For instance, coworkers can shut off the camera and “multitask,” shifting their focus, resulting in meetings that are not productive.
Due to this workplace transformation, remote work is no longer an issue for IT alone. Organizations must stop thinking of IT merely as a means enablement; it is just as vital as any other department of a company. Businesses must work together across the silos. “Your IT solutions company should provide the platform to enable businesses to make that shift, and offer guidance in that journey,” Spencer explains.
The world has changed, as has technology, and if companies do not adapt, they will lose reputation, ROI, or potentially go under. The solution is to adapt to this brave new world by aligning a company’s strategy and embrace this IT cultural transformation. To do this effectively, businesses need a platform to organize their journey as they create automation governance, operate the lifecycle, shift from silos to organizing applications, and transform the way their organization thinks, develops strategy, and operates. Most of all, everyone within the company must participate.
Cultural transformation covers a lot of ground from leadership styles to operational paradigm shifts. Traditionally, organizations have been very siloed in terms of technology skillsets and the technologists were very siloed from the business owners. Today, there’s a big push toward pushing those two sides together and organizing around applications themselves. This way the businesses are better able to track revenue and gross profits to the cost of those applications specifically.
“It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, it’s a big cultural shift for most companies,” says Spencer, “but IT pulls the whole business together across those silos to create a unified team.”
Technologent is a Global Provider of Edge-to-EdgeTM Information Technology Solutions and Services for Fortune 1000 companies. They help companies outpace the new digital economy by creating IT environments that are fast, flexible, efficient, transparent, and secure. Without these characteristics, companies will miss the opportunity to optimally scale. Technologent mobilizes the power of technology to turn vision into reality, enabling a focus on driving innovation, increasing productivity, and outperforming the market. Visit www.technologent.com.
- Parker, Kim, Julianna Menasce Horowitz and Rachel Minkin; “How the Coronavirus Outbreak Has – and Hasn’t – Changed the Way Americans Work”; Pew Research Center; December 9, 2020; pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/12/09/how-the-coronavirus-outbreak-has-and-hasnt-changed-the-way-americans-work/
- Pazzanese, Christina; “How COVID experiences will reshape the workplace”; The Harvard Gazette; February 9, 2021; news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/02/how-covid-experiences-will-reshape-the-workplace/
Digital Marketing Manager - Technologent