By Betsy Vereckey, Contributor
Technology has radically transformed how and where people work. Whether eliminating basic frustrations like having to log in to a system multiple times or allowing employees to feel more engaged thanks to virtual reality (VR), tech can propel your staff in new and exciting ways.
Here are five examples of how technology can inspire your remote workforce during this time:
1. Experience the Freedom to Work From Anywhere
Prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19), one Gallup survey found that 43 percent of Americans occasionally work from home, and a new study from Harvard Business School showed that companies that allow employees to work from anywhere attract workers who prove to be more loyal and productive.
Long important to digital-savvy employees, working from home is even more essential now as companies continue to arm their teams with what they need to work remotely during the quarantines.
2. Increase Productivity by Reducing Disruptions
E-mails, texts, social media mentions, messaging app pings. Notifications like these bombard employees the moment they log in. To minimize disruptions, employees are utilizing apps like Freedom and FocusMe to block websites for a period of time so that they can stay focused and productive on the work tasks at hand. On the back end, companies are using integrated technology solutions to make day-to-day life easier for employees.
Unified Workspace is one such solution that integrates software, services, and hardware to minimize daily IT issues and distractions, such as password resets and lost VPN connections. It encourages employees to be more self-sufficient by allowing them to install applications without IT support, and sign into a single portal where they can access everything they need to do their jobs—no matter where they’re located.
3. Spearhead Collaboration, Execute Big Ideas
Gone are the days of e-mailing one document to six different people. Now everyone can collaborate in a singular online version. Regardless of locale, workers can come together on video solutions such as Intel Unite, which allows teams to wirelessly connect their displays so they can share and collaborate seamlessly, and save their work automatically in the cloud.
As COVID-19 continues to force us to work from home, employees are replying on messaging tools like Slack to help them communicate and collaborate more easily, and conference tools like Zoom and Redbooth, to work together via HD video.
4. Provide Better Customer Service—Even Remotely
When the pandemic hit, plenty of companies found themselves needing to adjust quickly, including organizations such as Draper, a not-for-profit engineering company that provides services to the government, commercial companies and academic institutions, among others. The company’s projects are so high-profile that Draper is even working with Blue Origin to send Americans to the moon for the first time since 1972.
Client Services Manager Sarah Villard says that during the pandemic, Draper provided loaner Dell laptops to a percentage of the workforce who typically used desktops while in the office. The laptops were shipped out immediately to Draper’s staff so that everyone could continue working with minimal lag time.
“Being able to securely fulfill deliverables for customers while working remotely has been extremely important…”
—Sarah Villard, client services manager, Draper
“Being able to securely fulfill deliverables for customers while working remotely has been extremely important, given the current situation,” Villard says. “That’s why we strive to select technology that allows for mobility, reliability, and a positive user experience, but also supports and strengthens our security posture as an organization.”
5. Discover e-Learning Opportunities
Digital content is transforming how employees learn new skills and become inspired, and has proven even more valuable in recent weeks. E-learning—courses and educational content that’s delivered over the internet—is expected to grow to a $325 billion industry by 2025, according to Global Industry Analysts. It’s particularly helpful for remote workers who are not onsite to take advantage of brick-and-mortar opportunities.
A number of end-to-end systems and education services can make it easy for companies to inspire workers by providing high-quality hardware, timely course content, an easy-to-use learning management system, and ongoing technical support.
In addition, VR is transforming learning and development by immersing employees in training processes. Adobe’s Captivate, for example, uses VR to engage learners and mimic real-life situations such as a safety drills, while Indianapolis-based Republic Airways uses VR to replicate flying experiences as a way to introduce aspiring pilots to the aviation industry.
Furthermore, in the medical and healthcare industries, VR can be used with doctors and nurses to help them practice important procedures. Having medical employees don goggles to see what a polyp looks like, for example, can bring concepts to life and facilitate deep learning.
By leveraging technology to encourage training, collaboration, productivity, and mobility in the workforce, companies can inspire their staff to excel from any corner of the world—or room in the house.