There’s every sign that the phenomenal rise of remote working – alongside flexible work patterns and increased subcontracting – will gather pace in 2020.
Technology is certainly going to provide even more choice in devices and software features, creating further opportunities for remote workers to flourish. Even the least technologically confident
employees and freelancers will have the tools to connect and communicate instantly, from any location.
So what does this mean for the business landscape in 2020? And just how significant are the opportunities for greater agility and productivity, and what negative issues could arise? Here are our top five predictions for 2020:
Super-fast 5G will supercharge your business
By the end of 2019, 5G was beginning to gather steam. It’s the next generation in mobile internet connectivity, and will create much faster speeds and greater reliability in data transfer between devices. To put this in context, it’s set to be 100 times faster than standard 4G!
In the next 12 months, 5G could become a must-have for countless businesses, especially for those who need to stay in constant contact with their staff, exchanging large amounts of data in real-time.
The faster and more reliable connectivity of 5G could be vital for your business
5G could also be the stimulus for even greater growth in the Internet of Things, as tech companies harness its potential to swiftly process data. Everything from minute sensors to monitor individual shipping crates, to entire smart factories becomes a practical reality.
Both 3G and 4G will remain operational, but as 5G coverage blossoms worldwide in 2020, “super-fast” will be your competitive edge, and the wisest option for cross-global working.
Remote working will get strategic
The push to create more home-based workers and encourage staff to work on-the-go has largely been based on practicalities and economics.
Having remote staff means you need less office space, which means lower overheads. It can also be a way to attract and retain talent, by offering them flexible work patterns and a better work-life balance.
In 2020, the shift could be towards planning business growth and development around the principles of remote working – it will become more strategic.
For example, connectivity makes it possible to use freelancers and subcontractors more, which in turn manages salary commitments and work peaks and troughs.
These third-parties can easily access the information and systems they need via intranet software, which maintains security whilst giving organisations the option to dip into expertise and add extra “hands” when needed, without the cost of recruiting. It’s the best of both worlds, and a strategic decision that could grow your business.
Get strategic: intranet software improves the connectivity between your remote workers and contractors
Engaging remote workers will be top priority
There has been much written already on the challenges of digital workplaces – fragmented team dynamics, isolated staff, and decision-makers working in a so-called “vacuum”, to name a few.
Human nature still requires a degree of warmth in work environments – even digital ones. So engaging with remote workers and ensuring they still feel connected to your business will be vital in 2020.
It’s highly likely in 2020 that more companies will invest in building a social element into their intranet software. The mantra “happy staff are productive staff” could mean ensuring that everyone in teams can chat, seek affirmation and support, and generally mingle with colleagues in a corporate social network.
This will also support the process of making digital working more transparent and interactive. Alongside heavy-duty business tools and data capabilities, your employee intranet portal will offer greater opportunities to innovate, share ideas, and tackle issues at an early stage.
Security and skills will step up
The maths is simple. The more staff you have working remotely, the greater the issue of security.
One of the ways to counterbalance increased risk is to put even greater emphasis on recruiting technically competent staff and upskilling workers to reach ever-higher levels of understanding and ability.
This will make online training for remote workers one of the biggest software priorities for 2020. Don’t imagine this applies only to big companies. Over 70% of data breaches happen at businesses with less than 100 employees.
Digital working will boost scalability and confident decision-making
The frictionless collaboration made possible thanks to the digital workplace has made it easier for companies to make changes and reach decisions in a more assured and agile manner. Integration and data science capabilities also support more confident decision making, including taking calculated risks for new products or services.
Switching to even greater reliance on remote workers – including more joint ventures and subcontractors – underpins all of this. The tools are there to make businesses far more scalable and responsive, reacting to both opportunities and threats with greater speed and security. According to one piece of research, there will be as many remote workers (if not more) than office-bound staff by 2025.