Is Your Business Truly Ready for the Future of Work?
Futurists everywhere are zeroing in on what the future of work may look like. The practice of envisioning what tomorrow may bring for all aspects of society has taken on a life of its own, although it’s certainly not a new endeavor by any means. Even Mark Twain was known to dabble a bit in predictions of what the future might look like, famously drumming up images of a device that was suspiciously like the Internet in one of his many short stories.
The futurists of yesterday understandably missed the mark on many of their predictions. Quite obviously, we aren’t yet colonizing Mars or the moon anytime soon. And Jetsons-esque flying cars are still a far-flung dream of many, although they are getting ever-so-slightly closer to reality. Even still, some predictions were almost right on the mark.
A number of futurists and science fiction writers weaved tales where telecommunications very much like what we enjoy today were a reality. Did Star Trek’s L. Ron Hubbard envision the iPad and the mobile phone? Did George Lucas dream up holographic video calling? Not likely. But one thing is true: Life imitates art, and, in many cases, futurists can help shape the technology of tomorrow, even if they’re simply practicing the old art of looking to the future.
What Futurists Say About Our Next Steps
It’s easy to get lost in the present, forgetting that in 10, 15, or 20 years, what we consider normal may not be quite so normal any longer. Think back to what the Internet was like just 20 years ago. If you’re reading this on your WiFi or 4G-enabled mobile device, you might shiver at the thought. Most of us now wonder how we could have even lived like that in our personal lives, let alone conducted business that way.
Still, we grow comfortable in the way we do business and interact. Telepresence is a standard part of conducting business now, whereas only 20 years ago it was incredibly difficult to accomplish for anything but enterprise businesses. In today’s time, if your business has not adopted mobile platforms, video calling, VoIP, and many other technological advances to keep in touch with clients and business partners alike, you’re likely falling behind.
Fast-forward to 20 years from now. Will we still be using telepresence like we are today? Will physical offices still exist? Based on current telecommuting trends, some futurists think the traditional office will actually be a thing of the past. It’s not a far flung idea, either. According to Gallup, 37 percent of workers were telecommuting in 2015, up from 9 percent in 1995. You just did the math right there, didn’t you? 1995-2015: That’s a 20-year time span. The growth of the Internet resulted directly in that change. Give it another 20 years. Fifty percent of workers telecommuting doesn’t sound too inconceivable, does it?
The Danger in Falling Behind
Now, not every job can operate that way. In the future of work, miners can’t exactly telecommute to work, and, for the most part, we probably don’t want our doctors and nurses to phone it in. But America is largely becoming a society supported by service-industry jobs that don’t require a physical presence. More and more businesses are realizing this, with an increasing number hiring telecommuters who can get the job done from anywhere. And, of course, they heavily invest in their own telepresence infrastructure in the process.
This raises one big question: If your company is behind on telepresence today, how can you expect to be where you need to be tomorrow? A number of businesses that fell behind the technological times two decades ago are better remembered now as Wikipedia entries. When was the last time you streamed a video online through Blockbuster’s hit video streaming service? Hint: You didn’t, and you never will. Blockbuster, long a leader in video rentals, failed to update its business model to match the changes in technology, while Netflix was quick to transfer over from a physical to a digital medium.
Make Your Business Ready for the Future of Work
We’re probably far from all jacking in and telecommuting through virtual reality. But most futurists will agree: telepresence is not just on the rise; it’s going to be fundamentally important for every business in the coming future. It’s the future of work, and it’s not just coming—it’s already here.
A business can only play catch-up so long before it’s just too late to compete, both for good workers and for new clients. Fidelus can help any business stay ahead of the future of work with the proper telepresence applications and tools. From offering cutting-edge Cisco telepresence technology to helping businesses build out and build up their video and distance collaboration infrastructure, Fidelus makes keeping up with the changing business tides a hassle-free experience. Next stop: flying cars.