The new normal

Today’s managers are dealing with a brand new set of challenges that will require novel ideas, innovative technologies, and creative solutions. A few trends are shaping the lion’s share of the modern work-scape. Let’s examine them one by one:

  • The phenomenon of remote work has exploded over the past decade across most industries, and it will continue to grow, if not accelerate. (Will half of people be working remotely by 2020?).
  • Mobile devices are reaching ubiquity. According to PEW research, 68% of U.S. adults had a smartphone in 2016, up from 35% in 2011. (PEW)
  • Technological savviness in the workforce is on the rise. The workforce is increasingly digitally literate, having grown up with computers and smartphones. Older cohorts have also had enough time to catch up with younger generations.

What you’ll need?

These trends make it abundantly clear that we are dealing with a whole new model for the way people work together, which many find intimidating, given that our comfortable processes and tools may no longer be effective. Also embedded in these trends, however, are glimpses of great opportunities. To make sure you’re prepared to manage your teams in this exciting new world, you will need three major tool types in your digital arsenal:

  1. A versatile project management tool.
  2. A team collaboration tool with a deep integration bench.
  3. A routine automation tool to handle check-ins and feedback.

Tools like Trello, Slack, and video conferencing are paving the way, but there are still many gaps left to fill. Over the next few years we will see an explosion of speciality tools with vast integration capabilities to address this changing workforce dynamic. New products will keep a pulse on team engagement and dynamics without time-consuming bureaucratic paperwork. They will need to automate routine processes to establish consistency. They will need to push and pull data from a myriad of other technologies and systems. My advice? Get familiar with the tools available now, and keep yourself educated on the latest platforms as they emerge. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and don’t fall behind.