How technology will help redefine the future of work
Now that New Zealand has wholly entered the digital era, we must ensure that our businesses have the right equipment to facilitate our digital working needs.
Now that New Zealand has wholly entered the digital era, we must ensure that our businesses have the right equipment to facilitate our digital working needs, writes Yanek Fan.
Over the past ten years, we have seen a gradual transition towards a digital workplace. However, as we stepped into the new decade, this ‘gradual transition’ has accelerated into a seismic shift. A recent report from Tautauranga Aotearoa (Statistics New Zealand) revealed that more than 40 percent of New Zealand’s employed population did at least some of their work from home this year, and many have continued to do so after covid restrictions eased.
Last year working from home was a nice-to-have work perk, but this year it became a workplace necessity. Zoom has become the norm and not just for businesses, but also classrooms, events and even some health services. Now that we have wholly entered the digital era, we must ensure that we have the right equipment to facilitate our digital working needs.
A taste of the next normal
This year, the office started to redefine its role. The University of Otago’s Work Futures group published a detailed report that examined New Zealand employees’ experiences of remote working during Covid-19. It found that while 74 percent of Kiwis had no regular experience of the home working environment before the pandemic, the majority reported that they were as productive, if not more productive. However, there were some issues too.
The study also revealed that a third of the respondents found collaboration and communication with their co-workers to be the second biggest challenge after ‘not being able to switch off from work’. Yet despite this, 67 percent of the respondents suggested that they would prefer to work remotely a few times a week or month.
These findings suggest that our ways of working will move to an increasingly hybrid model, a combination of working from home and on-site. While this means improved flexibility, it will also require to have the right tools to foster collaboration and drive productivity.
The growing need for enhanced collaboration
Long before Covid-19, most business meetings also had some form of a collaborative technology in play. Many modern New Zealand meeting rooms generally come equipped with either a teleconferencing device, projectors or a whiteboard.
The problem is that for the less tech-savvy users, setting up the projectors, adjusting the camera and fine-tuning the audio can be tedious and laborious, especially right before a presentation. In our experience this generally leads employees to avoid using such devices and opting for their laptops instead.
One of the philosophies of product design is that users tend to follow the path of least resistance. Right now, organisations are experiencing an increase in collaborative intensity in the workplace, a growing need for medium and large meeting spaces to be more agile and adaptive, and a rising need to equip huddle spaces with collaborative technologies.
Future of work requires next-generation devices
According to analysts from Frost & Sullivan, the Digital Collaboration Board market grew by 18.3 percent in 2018 driven by the growing need for interactive content collaboration that enables both in-room and remote participants to ideate and solve business problems. To meet that need Huawei has recently brought the IdeaHub Pro into New Zealand.
This device is designed with many innovative technologies that work together to deliver a smooth video conference experience. Its high-end camera and microphone hardware work in tandem with the built-in software to act as a ‘personal producer’ that can automate several highly technical tasks.
Beyond reducing background noise and easily setting up video for the best camera angle without a having to get IT involved, the device also allows for seamless sharing of content and interactivity on an impressive screen.
The pandemic has accelerated the need for collaboration. Just recently IDC analysts predicted that, by 2024, enterprises with intelligent and collaborative work environments will see 30 percent lower staff turnover, 30 percent higher productivity, and 30 percent higher revenue per employee than their peers.
As the pandemic forces organizations to re-evaluate traditional workflows and redefine the role of the office, business leaders looking to drive productivity should pay special attention to the rise of smart office equipment that can enhance our ability to work together from any location.
Yanek Fan is Managing Director of Huawei Technologies New Zealand.