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Top 3 Trends Shaping the Way Work Will be Done Going Forward

Woman Remote Work
Working remotely
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Now is the time to pause and look across the business to identify what may be holding you back.

It’s that time of year again – the time when companies make predictions on what the new year will bring. Given all the research we’ve done around how work is working (or not working), I wanted to share the top three trends I see emerging. We believe these will dominate the agendas and priorities of executives and IT leaders this year, as they try to make it easier for employees to work from wherever they are located, now and going forward.

1. Remote

It may be trite (and obvious), but remote work is here to stay. The pandemic turned working remotely from a nice-to-have perk to a necessity for knowledge workers around the globe in the digital economy. Going forward, post-pandemic, it’s clear that remote and hybrid working options will need to be part of an organization’s mix.

As offices reopen, our research shows that 46% of workers expect to work from home (WFH) more frequently after the pandemic ends. For some, WFH is a dealbreaker. According to Resume Builder, 29% of workers are looking for a new job because they want to continue to work from home – we found that 75% of workers believe WFH is extremely important when evaluating future job opportunities.

Employers have taken note, with many announcing hybrid work plans, which support employees working part of the time remotely and part of the time in an office. To successfully enable, organizations need to evaluate all their policies, processes, and technologies to make sure they are positioned to support productive hybrid work environments, long-term.

2. Digitized and Automated

As noted above, organizations are having to look at their processes and technologies to make sure they can offer employees what they need to get work done, quickly and efficiently. This requires adopting productivity tools that can digitize and automate workflows to help employees do what they need to do, while eliminating tedious, manual, repetitive work.

During the pandemic, we saw PDF annotation increase by 84% and eSigning increase by 60%. We had 70% of workers in our study tell us that collaboration and productivity tools would be extremely impactful to get work done, with greater than 50% indicating they would be somewhat or much more productive with either an eSignature or PDF solution.

Making it easier for employees to do their job is more important than ever, given the “great resignation” that’s underway. The prolonged pandemic has a lot of people evaluating their lives, of which work is a large part. Resume Builder recently reported that one in four workers plan on quitting their job in 2022 – 42% of job-seekers want a position they are more passionate about.

Employees who are bogged down by processes and trapped doing tedious, manual work will likely not stick around for long. As a result, digitizing and automating workflows to reduce friction is becoming a priority for employers looking to retain workers, increase satisfaction, and improve overall productivity.

3. Standardized

At this moment in time, it’s important for organizations to take a real hard look at their environment and be honest about what is and what is not working. Then they need to make changes and standardize on the technology that will empower employees to do their best work. As the Accenture Technology Vision 2021 Report points out, “For years, enterprises have been optimistic in their self-assessments, thinking they’re further along in their digital transformation than they really are.”

To truly transform how work is done, digitization and automation have to be undertaken as part of a holistic strategy. Unfortunately, a lot of digital transformation has been done on an ad hoc or fragmented basis. It’s not uncommon to see different teams and departments using multiple different tools (e.g., PDFs, eSignature solutions, etc.) to digitize their workflows. For example, marketing may have adopted one set of solutions that worked for them, engineering may have gone with different tools that suited their needs, and legal probably decided they required something else entirely.

It may have worked fine when everyone was in the same building, but now, with workers remote and increasingly distributed, the flaws in the approach are becoming evident. Organizations are recognizing the need to standardize on solutions that can digitize and automate workflows end-to-end for optimal efficiency.

This will likely require some consolidation. Taking a step back and making conscious, cohesive choices around the productivity tools that will work best for everyone in the business has a number of benefits. It can alleviate the increasingly untenable situation of IT having to support multiple tools and vendors, as well as give organizations the visibility and control they need to unify workflows end-to-end, reduce costs, and consistently deliver good experiences.

Of course, the tool(s) an organization chooses to standardize on must support all the functionality (PDF and eSignature), users, operating systems (Mac™ and Windows®), devices (desktops, mobile, etc.), use cases, and security and compliance requirements of the business. It must also be able to integrate with the different front- and back-end systems being used, so it can seamlessly enhance and speed existing workflows to make it easier to get work done.

Now is the time to pause and look across the business to identify what may actually be holding it back. This will allow you to standardize on truly transformative tools that lay the foundation you need to achieve all the benefits of a connected, digital workplace. If you are interested in learning more about the trends we’ve documented, please check out our 2022 Nitro Productivity Report or reach out to our team here.

Future of Work

The Nitro 2022 Productivity Report

Learn how the pandemic has transformed productivity, workflows and digital initiatives, as well as the trends and technologies shaping work in 2022 and beyond.