Top three takeaways from the IDC European Future of Work Digital Summit 2020
The IDC European Future of Work Summit was arguably more relevant than ever this year. With varying phases of lockdown dominating the continent since March, somewhat theoretical or abstract conversations around the future of work became a reality for even the most legacy organisations. Thousands of people have been forced to work from their homes and leaders were forced to decide what their digital workplace will look like, while CIOs ensure that their organisation has the technological foundations to support it.
The Temporall team attended a number of sessions from industry giants including VMware, GoTo and lockdown winner Zoom – amongst others – throughout the day, and the Temporall booth remained a hive of activity.
1. There is no denying that technology adoption is integral in the future of work
2020 has ensured that remote working is now standard practice for almost all organisations, whether it was already on the cards or not. It’s now incredibly difficult to see that we will go back to purely office-based working. In this future of work, leaders need to consider how to maintain and connect a distributed workforce that stretches far beyond the geographic restrictions of a traditional working environment. So far, the mass adoption of digital collaboration and communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Workplace from Facebook demonstrate the need for technology in the future of work.
However many employees still prefer to use familiar tools like email. People know how to create, store and send information easily – and the communication etiquette is long-established. The rapid introduction of new enterprise systems that may actively pride themselves on making familiar tools redundant, can cause confusion and stress. So people often revert back to using their old tools to solve new challenges. Employees must learn to be digitally dexterous to make best use of these new tools. But digital dexterity cannot be fostered without the right organisational culture.
2. No success without culture
While digital acceleration was seemingly top of the agenda for the event, it was closely followed by conversations on culture. Leaders can no longer rely on the material, surface-level aspects of organisational culture to promote a community spirit. Instead, an organisation’s ‘true’ culture is on show – trust, openness to change, digital-first mindsets and a common sense of purpose are exposed and more critical than ever for success.
In the future of work, with greater reliance on technology, markets moving faster and the physicality and emotional cues of an office floor being lost, organisations must nurture a digital culture. What used to live in the walls of an organisation is rapidly vanishing from memory, and the choices, virtual habits and norms that are developed now will form the culture of the future.
3. We need to push our conversation of the future of work
The future of work is not a new point of conversation. Before the pandemic, most organisations were engaged with the notion of digital transformation – albeit at a reasonably steady pace. While leaders needed to evidence progress in quarterly or even yearly meetings, there was no real sense of urgency to invest in technology and the culture remained largely resistant.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, we felt a momentous change in the way we work and even the way we think about work. This has increased the popularity of the phrase, ‘the future of work is now’. It felt very cutting edge at the start of the lockdown, but this commentary now feels rather repetitive and uninspired. While leaders have accelerated the technological aspect of the future of work, the humanistic side still feels reasonably misunderstood. We need to push our conversation of what the future of work really means – not simply settle for the idea that we are already in the future of work.
Where do we go from here?
At Temporall, we are working to help leaders drive effectiveness in the future of work. We bring clarity to your aptitudes, relationships and attitudes during times of disruption and beyond – so you have the outlook to make the right decisions as you plan for an organisation of the future. Our Organisational Intelligence platform, Workbench uses Machine Learning, data analytics and advanced visualisation techniques to enable continuous insights into your organisation.
By combining these systems-generated insights with data contributed by people, Workbench is able to perform comparative and relational data analysis to truly optimise organisational effectiveness.
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