This time a year ago the big news in the telecommunication space was the impending shutdown of South Africa’s ADSL service. Who would’ve thought that one year later we’d see unprecedented internet usage volumes, daily Zoom calls increase by more than 2000% and biometric, no touch facial recognition technologies take centre stage to avoid physical contact in any public space?
“The ‘future’ we anticipated has been thrown into the present day as the world continues to navigate its way around the COVID-19 new ‘norm’,” says Calvin Collett, managing director for Supersonic. “We are being forced to up our game by building infrastructure quicker, expanding and upgrading network capacity sooner than planned and look further than just internet connectivity and come up with solutions that focus on meeting the need of future internet and connectivity usage behaviours.”
Collett believes that 2021 will indirectly ‘formalise’ a hybrid model between physical office and WFH (work from home) scenarios. He says that businesses will subsidise the setup of effective work from home (WFH) environments, robust back-up solutions will be in demand and Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies will assist with automated scheduling and interactive video conferencing.
“What will be interesting to see is how businesses learn to manage this hybrid model from a productivity perspective.” There is no shortage of digital tools companies can use to manage their teams’ output, but Collett anticipates that we’ll start to see expert services and training facilities cropping up to analyse and interpret the data to be able to optimise workflow and reporting efficiencies. “Exception reporting will lead the charge in optimising productivity analysis.”
“We have seen a significant increase in the level of productivity across our team since March despite global sentiments about how individuals were going to manage to continue to work amidst their domestic circumstances,” says Collett. “What we have identified, however is the skillset shift that is separating and underscoring the self-starters within our business. Meetings have become succinct and turnaround times have reduced.”
Collett highlights that an area that is still in limbo which no business has gotten quite right yet is the work/life balance. He says this will be an important part of the WFH evolution as the traditional 8-5 mindset will be pushed out of its comfort zone.