SmartWorking – Introduction, Evolution & Future Predictions
In this three part series, guest writer Joe Roche, explores the rapidly evolving landscape of the modern workplace, past barriers to SmartWorking, steps taken and technologies that have been used to create a smart ecosystem for business and learning.
He also outlines some of the benefits and solutions SmartWorking can offer companies in their never-ending war to find talent and skills, while then concluding with some predictions for the Future of Work and SmartWorking. Enjoy 🙂
Professionals and academics have been gasping for an alternative to fixed working and learning, one that offers flexibility for lifestyles and locations. Remote, telecommuting or – as Abodoo coin it – SmartWorking affords those with little access to local employment or education — geographic or otherwise – the opportunity to work and learn anywhere.
Barriers to this smart approach to career and skill advancement were many, ranging from poor broadband infrastructure, technologies and most of all, culture. According to Ricoh Ireland, culture was cited by 47% of businesses as the biggest barrier to smart working.
Now that accessibility barriers have melted somewhat, all that’s left is the cultural acceptance tipping point (to cite Malcolm Gladwell). With that said, attitudinal change doesn’t happen overnight, it is an acculturated transition, particularly when it pertains to working and learning trends.
In fact, according the the 2018 Blueface BCT Report, 77% of Irish companies have already adopted a Smart Working strategy. This pairs well with the trend of digital upskilling via Learning Management Systems, already introduced by 78% of businesses.
Meanwhile, many academic institutions offer remote learning options, so much so that the eLearning industry is now worth over $182bn according to Orbis Research.
While digital learning is mostly a professional upskill demographic, industry has had a leading hand in education, particularly STEM. Graduates of this blended learning environment will seek the same flexibility in their professional careers and companies need to take steps to accommodate for this.
An Evolving Landscape
The need to support these tools is why one of the first fields remote applicants see when applying for a role / course is some variant of “How fast is your internet?”
According to Blueface research, average business broadband speeds have improved from 10MBp/s (ICT 2014) to 50MBp/s (Blueface BCT 2018). That’s a huge leap in four short years and it’s projected that that average will improve to 100MBp/s by the end of 2018.
For businesses to take remote working seriously as part of their overarching SHRM strategy, the new infrastructure for connectivity is needed. After all, many — if not all – digital collaboration tools are supported by cloud computing (the proliferation of which has aided advancement in remote working).
Collaboration tools such as Google Docs, Slack or Unified Communications (voice calling, fax, video, email, IM) have existed for some time but their true advantages are unlocked with high speed internet. Real-time collaboration via the cloud allows people to feel connected to an office or campus — even if there isn’t one.
These tools have also enabled the quickly growing trend of eLearning, which often remote mentoring and an asynchronous library of digital learning resources. Students can connect to each other, their lecturers and their course
Now a home office can be created with even consumer internet speeds, as the average household in built up areas can access fibre-to-the-household.
Some people are less productive from the home office, needing a structured working environment and this has allowed by coworking spaces such as WeWork, Talent Garden and Dogpatch. As the final name suggests, coworking spaces are excellent short term solutions (or patches) to an endemic local talent flow problem, but only until remote working is reflected in culture.
Guest Writer Bio:
Joe Roche is Head of Content at Blueface with a background in journalism (print + digital), digital marketing / programming education (online + classroom) and public relations. Joe is a keen smart working advocate and has written extensively about the benefits of remote working / learning, voice collaboration, and cloud communication technologies.
Connect with Joe if you want to chat about remote working, communication technologies or the Philadelphia Eagles.