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How tech will change the way we work in 2016

During 2015, the rapid evolution of cloud computing and big data changed people’s working habits. Teams’ limits were continuously pushed, workloads often became unmanageable, and more and more managers were tasked with leading dispersed teams, based across different geographies and time zones, while keeping various stakeholders up-to-date.

While 2016 promises to be a blast, it will prove to be equally challenging, as organisations come under increasing pressure to deliver value to their customers, achieve perfect results and ensure that their teams are motivated. However, thanks to the growth of the cloud and other new technologies, there is still hope for continued promise of productivity gains.

This year, we’re already seeing how easy-to-use, specialised enterprise and consumer tools are making data collection, analysis, and interpretation accessible in an unprecedented way, so that businesses can use that information to better understand where the market is heading, and create new commercial opportunities. Enterprises are also beginning to realise that they can use data derived from the work carried out within their own organisation to support their employees and increase the pace of productivity.

The next step is for businesses to look out for the trends that are set to change the way we work in 2016, and start using them to their advantage.

Mobile workforces are becoming widespread

The Workforce 2020 study predicts that the ability to work at any time and from anywhere is becoming a major factor in the business world, especially with more millennials joining and shaping the workforce. Shifting demographics and cross-organisational trends are changing the way we work and it’s important for leadership to recognise this. Many employees don’t sit in the same office anymore and need to share information and communicate globally in order to achieve their goals.

Supported by private companies and legislators alike, mobile working has continued to grow as a trend, presenting a number of benefits which include eliminating the restrictions of location, enabling organisations to choose anyone to be a part of their team, thus creating more qualified workforces. Mobility also impacts families on the positive side, as people are able to work from home and from a distance meaning there is less of a need to compromise on their family life, resulting in a workforce that is less stressed and more motivated.

Experts agree that new technologies will make true mobility and on-demand intelligence mainstream in the coming years, allowing people to work on their own terms and enabling leaner, more productive workspaces

This is the year of agile working

A mega trend that will continue to gain ground is lean and agile working, a method begun in the software industry, which has today been adopted by teams in sectors from healthcare to finance. Defined as delivering the same or more value to customers while minimising waste, as well as reacting to uncertain and changing realities. In other words, 2016 will be the year of working smart, and focusing on performance and outcomes.

This trend is gaining increased traction because people are starting to realise they need to work in a more efficient way to increase productivity. At the base of agile methodologies is the idea that teams who execute the work should also be the ones planning it. They should strive for continuous improvement, transparency and collaboration, with the ultimate goal of achieving customer satisfaction through rapid and continuous goal achievement. As teams continually deliver more value, adapt, solve real problems and act quickly, they feel more empowered and in control in their jobs, contributing to a better bottom line.

Bi-modal is going beyond business

Bi-modal IT, according to Gartner, is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one that is focused on stability and the other on agility and business development. This is a fast moving technique, but has been in practise in some organisations for years.

This model is particularly interesting when applied outside of IT. Some might argue that organisations today are already being divided by providers of stability and infrastructure, and teams driving the business forward. It can also be applied to the way we work by combining traditional planning with agile execution. In 2016, organisations might consider reviewing themselves in the light of bi-modality if they want to constantly deliver a higher flow of value.

During the next few months, disruptive technologies will make it easier for managers to achieve team motivation, collaboration and communication. By keeping ahead of developments, harnessing emerging technologies and continually adapting to new IT trends, today’s organisations can increase productivity and customer satisfaction- and stay ahead of the game.

Maria Nordborg, Projectplace

Image source: Shutterstock/bikeriderlondon