By Tan May Lin
Our world is changing rapidly and we are witnessing how the global pandemic is spurring governments, financial institutions and brands into a frenzy of action to save lives, and to protect livelihoods and bottom lines. Economic and fiscal rulebooks were rewritten overnight, and business models rapidly adjusted to stay relevant—and afloat—in response to a crisis like the world has never seen before.
Despite the easing of restrictions in Singapore, many organisations plan to continue encouraging employees to work remotely, signalling a shift from a local workforce to a virtual one.
This departure from the workplace environment is a significant step towards digital transformation. In fact, COVID-19 is accelerating the urgent need for digital transformation for businesses all over the world. While existing software and apps in the market can improve productivity and virtual collaboration between team members, there is also a need for highly reliable and innovative hardware technologies to help alleviate stress and enable greater productivity.
Changing behaviour changes the future of work
The global health crisis has forced us to embrace new lifestyle changes. Some short-term mitigation efforts are likely to continue even as the threat of COVID-19 decreases.
One such trend is the permanency of a virtual workforce. Messaging apps such as Zoom, Slack and Skype were developed long before the pandemic hit, but the need to maintain social distancing is making our reliance on technology stronger than ever before. The silver lining for such a workforce is cost savings, manifest in reductions in property rentals and on-premise technology spends. This can also lead to financial benefits for employees, who no longer need to commute to a physical office.
Another trend is the rise of new shopping habits, with customers refocusing their purchase priorities. In Singapore, sales of health and wellness products are continuing to grow since the outbreak, indicating a long-term shift towards healthier products and categories. Across Southeast Asia, online grocery vendors have experienced a surge in orders as more consumers choose to stay indoors, rather than venturing out to physically shop in a store.
These shifts in consumer behaviour point offer key insight into the next normal environment. As work, learning and shopping behaviours move from predominately offline to online, there is soaring demand for new technology solutions to help improve the consumer journey, convenience and efficiencies.
A sustainable hybrid work environment
As we move to embrace hybrid workplaces, combining in-person and remote work, it is important to ensure that employees are equipped with the right tools to ensure productivity, regardless of where they are working from. However, as office workers migrate to a home-based working environment, some workers may not enjoy the same level of access to essential hardware such as scanners or printers. As such, it is essential to make technologies that facilitate home office tasks, such as printing, scanning or labelling, readily available.
By providing access to reliable tools, companies can help employees cope with the added stress they may face working in hybrid environments, helping them to stay on top of their workloads.
From inkjet printers, which help businesses to be more efficient and sustainable due to low running costs, to home projectors that can provide employees with dual benefits of clear and easy-to-read presentations as well as videos at home, this type of hardware can help individuals efficiently balance work and home life in the same space.
Returning to new workspaces
Even as people start to return to physical offices, it is highly likely that workplaces will never be the same again. With this in mind, key hardware technologies like printers and projectors can help by improving collaboration and productivity, driving sustainability while also reducing operational business costs and overheads. Businesses need to take precautions through the implementation of safe distancing measures, as hygiene and social distancing continue to be a top priority for business owners and employees.
The pandemic is accelerating new behaviours that support responsible consumption, such as working remotely and purchasing from locally-sourced production. As consumers change behaviours, digital transformation has never been more important in improving collaboration between team members. The introduction of reliable and innovative hardware technologies can alleviate stress and enable greater workplace productivity, encouraging a more sustainable future.