It’s not bold to say the COVID-19 crisis has affected every aspect of how companies do business. In these trying times, many people are finding that technology is an absolutely invaluable tool in the effort to make swift, drastic adjustments to the way we run our companies. As a result, technology is likely to play an even larger role in everyday work, even once the quarantines have ended.
From the sudden shift to completely remote work to establishing new ways to conduct virtual interviews, the big changes we’re seeing will undoubtedly have lasting effects long after stay-at-home orders are lifted. While we await a return to “normalcy,” many of us are wondering: What will that new normal look like?
Here are my three predictions for the future of work post-COVID:
1. Remote Work Will Be Much More Common
Flexible work arrangements are a highly desired benefit for workers. In one FlexJobs survey, 80 percent of respondents said they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. As technology advances, it makes remote work more feasible for more people, allowing more organizations to grant this benefit.
However, many businesses were slow to implement remote work before COVID-19, with only 7 percent of US employers offering telecommuting options to all or most of their workers prior to the pandemic.
Now, remote work has become an outright necessity for many businesses across the country. With employees finding ways to effectively fulfill their responsibilities from home — even for jobs previously thought to require an office — it’s easy to see how remote work arrangements could become permanent fixtures of the employment landscape.
2. Hiring Will Become Less Cumbersome and More Predictable
Just as the unprecedented advances in technology over the past decade have made flexible work options attractive perks for job seekers, they have also given us many new and exciting ways to hire candidates remotely. As recruiters adapt to video-based interviews during the lockdowns, they’ll become more comfortable with virtual hiring. As with remote work, it’s likely these recruiters will carry these new tools and techniques with them into the post-pandemic world.
As more operations adopt live and on-demand remote interviewing tools, they’ll see the benefits these platforms can offer beyond simply interviewing candidates digitally. For one, traditional interviewing requires coordinating the schedules of multiple parties during small windows of time. On-demand interviewing automates much of this process by allowing candidates to perform interviews — and recruiters to review those interviews — at times that are convenient for them.
Some of virtual interviewing tools also incorporate predictive intelligence and analytics, which help recruiters and hiring managers better identify the most well-suited candidates for a role. That streamlined vetting can help employers cut their hiring timelines and make better hires in general.
3. Companies Will Rely More on Technology Overall
With countless team and client meetings shifting to videoconferencing, we’ve all been growing accustomed to working virtually over the past few weeks. Throughout the process, companies and employees in every market are observing firsthand how they can utilize technology to become more efficient than ever. To keep up with competitors, they’ll have to keep leveraging that technology.
As we familiarize ourselves with digital work tools and embrace their powerful abilities, we won’t want this new way of working to be temporary. In domains such as project management, task assignment, and the hiring process, people are learning to use technology to streamline operations. Taking note of how technology is helping right now, companies will be inclined to continue leveraging it in new and exciting ways going forward. We already know the majority of employees are on board with this: In a 2017 Adobe survey, most workers said technology makes them more productive, improves work/life integration, and helps them better connect with coworkers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inadvertently caused the largest remote work experiment our country has ever seen, and it’s up to managers to learn from this experience while moving forward into the new normal. While there’s no telling what, exactly, the new normal will entail, one thing is for sure: Technology will play a crucial role in not only the transition to normalcy, but also the creation of a more efficient work environment post-pandemic.
Tim Ihlefeld is CEO of Harqen.