2020 is destined to be remembered as a year of transformation, particularly the shift to a digitized ecosystem led by futuristic startups and a blossoming gig economy in Southeast Asia. Analysts say that technology and development will need to progress hand-in-hand to ensure a swift economic recovery. Although we are far from a complete recovery at this stage, current efforts encourage optimism for the year ahead.
The pandemic impacted all businesses, especially traditional enterprises, and these businesses were forced to explore how to integrate technology into all aspects of their operations. Companies that adapted quickly to the changing environment and addressed new demands from customers on digital networks will find themselves in a relatively stable position. While governments and policy-makers work closely with industry leaders to be better prepared for future risks, organizations must continue to accelerate technology adoption and innovation. Digital is here to stay and will eventually integrate into every system and workplace to boost productivity.
Here are four critical aspects that local businesses need to look into as we step into 2021.
1. Building an effective and secure hybrid workforce
In 2021, executive leaders need to change established business models to ensure business continuity and growth in the short and long terms. Workplaces are expected to be more flexible as hybrid working models become mainstream. These workplaces without boundaries will also increase vulnerabilities and security concerns. Solutions adopted in the next year must address the organization’s security, connectivity, and productivity needs to be effective.
2. Staying productive: balancing work and leisure
According to the Singapore government, employees should still work from home for at least half their working time. Given that we are expecting hybrid working to continue next year, businesses need to encourage the less tech-savvy workforce to stay motivated and focused and prioritize employee safety and well-being.
According to a recent Barco survey, 63% surveyed said they enjoy working from home less now than they did at the start of the pandemic, citing challenges in collaborating with colleagues, struggling to contribute to meetings, and missing the social side of office life as the main reasons for wanting to return to the office. Organizations need to relook their company policies and think of solutions to overcome these challenges, be it emotional well-being or sustaining the workplace culture and practices.
3. Need to ideate and innovate
The development of frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, blockchain, photonics, biotech, and quantum computing is expected to help businesses upscale opportunities as these innovations become more accessible for business use. We encourage companies to capitalize on this trend to invest in research and development and technology bets to gain a competitive advantage over their peers.
4. Now is the time to reskill
At the 2019 World Economic Forum, a key concern raised was the global skills gap. Leadership, culture, and technology have to work hand in hand to deliver quantifiable results for organizations. Through upskilling or reskilling programs, organizations can develop a workforce equipped to meet the business’s goals.
Global businesses are seeing a need for attention and investment towards employee skill development in the workplace. As we move towards economic recovery in 2021, companies need to pivot ahead, given that the only thing that will be constant is change.
It is never too late to learn; it gives you superpowers. As Charles Darwin said, “The species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”
Gan Ta Loong, Managing Director, Barco South East Asia, wrote this article.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HR&DigitalTrends. Image credit: iStockphoto/YurolaitsAlbert