The impact of COVID-19 has disrupted daily life as we know it and caused a shift in technology trends within the workplace. Over recent weeks, businesses have found themselves hastily searching for and implementing temporary solutions to help them deliver an uninterrupted service. These solutions are highlighting the significant role technology plays in helping companies adapt to the situation and maintain daily operations. But what happens once the crisis is over?
The Importance of Adopting Technology Now
Following the advice of health experts, many AEC businesses have had to close their offices and switch to remote work in order to prevent the further spread of the virus. Companies who had never even entertained the idea of remote work are now seeing their entire workforce working from home.
The switch to remote working is forcing the industry to evaluate their position when it comes to digitalization as companies need to think of alternative ways to conduct business. This likely includes implementing new technology to set up processes and enable remote collaboration. The sooner companies become familiar with this new technology, the quicker it will be for teams to adapt to their new situation. This can once again provide routine and structure and enable as close an approximation to workplace normality as possible.
How the Workplace of the Future Could Look
While no one can truly predict what’s in store post-COVID-19, it would be difficult for working life to go back to exactly the way it was. Based on the things that are happening now, some workplace changes that may stick around post-pandemic include:
An Increase in Remote Work
Before the pandemic, remote work wasn’t really embraced by the architecture industry, compared to other professions. However, now that employees are proving it to be a feasible option, that may mean that it could be offered in more workplaces in the future.
Someone who has always believed in remote work as a viable way of conducting business is Diana Nicklaus, Principal and Co-Founder of Boston-based architecture company, Saam Architecture. As Nicklaus wrote in a Business News Daily piece, her company equips their employees with the necessary tools to work from anywhere,
“Our clients can reach all of us any time of the day, as our personal cell phone numbers are available to them. Our team provides a high level of responsiveness, as we are all equipped with the tools to work remotely, whether we are designing or responding to emails.”
A Rise in Click & Mortar Businesses
With the quarantine measures ordered by governments around the world, many brick and mortar businesses are suffering. Those that can have adopted a “click and mortar” model as an alternative. Click and mortar refers to a business model that incorporates online operations alongside its offline. This strategy emphasizes the need to adapt to changing times and could be something that remains for many businesses even once the pandemic is over.
More Touchless Technology
COVID-19 has many people washing their hands like they’ve never washed them before. This health crisis has made people more conscious of better hygiene practices and has influenced how cautiously they navigate the world outside of their homes. A post-pandemic future within the workplace could see more touchless technology implemented in studios, office buildings, and showrooms. Lights, elevator buttons, and washroom taps are just some examples of where sensor technology could be put in place to help curb the spread of bacteria.
Technology’s Role in Helping Organizations Adapt and Thrive
Technology trends within the workplace evolve to reflect what’s happening in the world around them. The effects of COVID-19 are already somewhat apparent within the AEC industry. In the absence of site visits and meetings with suppliers, as told to ArchDaily, architects are utilizing online catalogues to locate architectural products and materials, and solutions such as BIM (Business Information Modeling) have become ever more vital in the decision-making process.
Solutions like Enscape, a real-time rendering program, are also helping architects to streamline their design workflows and make project visualizations accessible to anyone, regardless of their location. The recent surge in sign-ups for video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams highlights how technology is needed to not only collaborate on projects, but also to stay connected. Human interaction is an imperative part of daily workplace life that may have, pre-pandemic, been overlooked.
These are just a few examples of how technology can assist businesses and organizations to not only stay afloat, but even to thrive during these difficult times and thereafter.
If you’re curious to know other ways in which the workplace could change in a post-pandemic future, join Enscape’s free webinar with Matt McMullen, The Art of Construction’s Executive Director, to learn more.