Alexa, what’s the best way of communicating with work? 

There is a moment of silence, then a beep and a voice replies. 

‘You have multiple options: Zoom, Slack or Google Hangouts, which would you prefer?’

This is the future of work. 

Just as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home have revolutionised how people listen to music and learn new information, apps such as Zoom, Slack and Google Hangouts are slowly revolutionising how work is conducted. All it took was one little pandemic to drive this point home. 

The coronavirus pandemic has shown a great many companies and their employees that instead of forcing themselves to commute to an office miles from their home every day, they can work from home whilst still being able to communicate with their colleagues and superiors. Not only that, but with an application like Slack, employees are still able to talk and banter with one another. 

Companies are likely to now adopt a workspace model similar to Uber or Deliveroo with workers at home having greater flexibility, after all, you don’t need a conference room when you can hold your important lunchtime meeting via Google Hangouts and Zoom. 

Fewer workers in the office means that companies will shift to smaller offices to reduce overheads. Lower overheads could well lead to the company being able to pay their employees more, which with the reduced travel cost would leave said employees with a much heftier amount of money to play with every month. 

More people working from home means more people trying to find the right balance between doing work and sorting out their home. Enter the robots. There are already robots being developed and being sold into the marketplace that will provide security for your home and even do the cleaning for you. 

As the robots work on sorting out the home, workers can better concentrate on the work at hand, increasing productivity and morale. 

The possibilities that the abundance of robots and apps will bring will require some deep introspection from both companies and employees in regards to what they bring to the table.

For employees, this means focusing on what skills they have and areas where they could improve. A strange thing to consider now, you would think, but with the way society obsesses over job titles at present, not many people are aware of what skills they truly possess. 

Consequently, it’s important that employees start self-directing and self-managing their growth and development if they want advancement in their careers.

However, the technological revolution may go against human nature. We’re social animals and the lack of human contact that the revolution promises will have some serious negative effects. 

Mainly loneliness, demotivation and paranoia. Loneliness and demotivation emerge from lacking regular contact with others, whilst paranoia can creep in from misunderstanding the tone in which something is typed.

The coronavirus pandemic has sped up the digital revolution in the workplace, it did not start it. As we continue in lockdown, we will see whether companies and their employees can adapt to a changing world. 

Greater flexibility enabled by apps such as Zoom and Slack alongside robots for household chores will clash with humanity’s social nature. It will truly be the time of homework for all.

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