With remote working here to stay, how is technology adapting and evolving to our new needs like social distancing regulations and H&S guidelines?
We’ve heard about how Coronavirus has impacted on developments in remote working to no end, and how this has likely caused a monumental shift in the working practices of our time. In two surveys of American workers conducted in early April and early May, Erik Brynjolfsson and colleagues found that of those employed pre-Covid-19, about half are now working from home.
We have seen the immediate uptake of employers renouncing the office as a necessity and countless organizations releasing their new expectations and investments into their employees’ health, safety and well-being through various press releases.
Bolt on technology developments
In much the same way, the “new normal” has shifted our focus in the technological space and resulted in some interesting developments. For example, NASA has “built an internal contact tracing program using its existing Salesforce software and coordinated cross-agency data sharing to fuel it”. This is a superb example of how the corporate sphere have tapped into new requirements of our Covid-19 world, by ‘bolting’ on to existing technologies and platforms and repurposing them for today’s needs.
We can also see examples of HR agility and adaptability in the automotive industry. Whilst there’s been a lot of woeful press surrounding the sector, as many organizations have faced tough financial cuts resulting in mass lay-offs, there are some employers that have seen consumer demand rise.
However, this success can equally lead to its own problems, as manufacturing is one of the industry’s that will struggle to operate within new social-distancing guidelines due to cramped and busy workshop floors where employees would usually bustle together throughout their working day.
Smart social distancing solutions
This has resulted in some ingenious technology developments within manufacturing. Automation can help these employers who have managed to stay afloat or are even excelling, to not just replace some of the workforce who are unable or unwilling to return to the workplace, but to keep those that remain safe. In a recent article, they speak about “The Smart Social Distancing solution [which] consists of a series of interconnected badges and beacons. The system warns users if they get too close to one another, helping them avoid accidental breaches of safety protocol. These breaches declined by more than 50% within the first week of testing.”
An additional sphere to watch is AI and language processing. It will be the next big trend to watch, noted in a Harvard Business Review piece. And this may only be accelerated by the decrease in face-to-face contact we witness today. We have already heard about employers listening and watching their employees using various tools whilst they work from home, so this next level in managing employee performance seems a logical evolution.
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