I was reading a paper from Gartner the other day about 2021 strategic technological trends, and when compared with the 2020 revision, I saw how powerful these two new themes are today: location independence and resilient business delivery. I was pleased to see that Gartner recognises anywhere operations as a critical business principle.
But frankly – did we have to experience a pandemic to figure this out?
In my line of work, I have much exposure to different types of management techniques and tools, methods, processes, and communication styles between managers and their reports.
When placed in an office with hundreds of other managers and reports, only a case-by-case thorough analysis will show if any managerial styles are less efficient. However, in light of the pandemic, it became apparent where shortfalls occur because suddenly, people had to communicate efficiently remotely to get along and achieve anything. Remote communication may involve less micromanagement and less of looking over people’s shoulders, disrupting their workflows. Remote working might leverage visionary, steering-based, and leadership capabilities. Naturally, the next question becomes whether insufficiently trained managers can successfully deliver using remote connectivity and competitive technological trends or whether their dependency on micro-management hinders their ability to do work.
Seeing that Gartner positions anywhere operations (amongst other technological trends expected to influence 2021) is encouraging because it suggests that businesses will now actively train their managers to operate from anywhere to a sufficient level of proficiency.
Should this be the end of working from the office? Not because of situations where rightfully factory workers, logistics, and goods handlers require staff to be on site. However, the industry of professional services should, in my view, position working from anywhere not only as desirable but as essential because of the advantages around being able to respond swiftly to calls, blending other responsibilities with work responsibilities, providing the right environment for each employee and avoiding the hypocritical urban congestion which drives to unnecessary inefficiencies, loss of time and money.