Twenty years ago, if someone told you email would come to be regarded as the poor sibling of instant chat apps in business, would you have believed it? NO Never…. Technological advancements have entirely reshaped the organizations by making their business processes highly integrated, and more streamlined. And still, its days as the corporate communication tool of choice are numbered.
Over the past decade, workplaces and the way people work in these workplaces have changed significantly. The closed technology ecosystem of phones, emails, chat, and shared sites is a thing of the past, and has been replaced by a growing number of open platforms that foster easier communication and collaboration within organizations.
Now, this new class of productivity platforms is evolving to offer built-in apps, cross-platform compatibility and integrations with every service under the sun (almost!). Today’s workplace communications technology must do all it can to boost productivity by automating where possible and by supporting virtual workforces. The next ten years will be about developing technology that can free up human hours and creating virtual situations that closely mimic reality.
Here’s what the past, present and future of workplace communications look like in 2020. Let’s change your office of the future. Shall we dive in?
The Past- Email
Emails have reigned supreme as the workplace communications tool for the better part of two decades but are still far from perfect.
Inboxes can quickly become cluttered and disorganized; spam still slips through the net. Moreover, emails are far from impervious to cyber criminals and lengthy threads must be trawled through to find information. There is room for improvement.
Yes, Google has just overhauled Gmail in a major update that tackles some of email’s most obvious flaws. New tools include prompts to remind users to respond to forgotten mail and a confidential feature lets users put an expiry date on sent emails so they will eventually disappear from a recipient’s inbox. The confidential feature also lets you add passwords to those emails containing particularly sensitive information.
That being said, there’s still a time and a place for emails. They're still a mainstay for formal communication with clients or suppliers that requires a clear paper trail and they can be useful for a tactical delay as they don’t have to be answered right away. For the rest, instant messenger software, company social media and video – all housed within a single digital workplace – are becoming preferable.
Because we’re at a point where many use email like instant chat anyway – without the formal preamble or the sign offline – email as we know it is slipping down the pecking order.
The Present- Social Media & Chats are Gratifying Though
Today, there are a growing number of tools and platforms that are competing with each other. As businesses are quickly adapting to the changing landscape by trying out new solutions and switching subscriptions, the early mover advantage is not as sacrosanct as it once was.
According to the latest report, global IT is spending trillion-dollar market for numerous office chat software to boost their business productivity. Accordingly, Flock, Slack, Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, Atlassian’s HipChat (now Stride), Google’s G-Suite Apps with Hangouts and Duo, Facebook’s Workplace, Amazon’s Anytime, and a host of newer/smaller players are all vying for a piece of this pie.
The accessibility and instant availability to talk to anyone and at any place is what makes technology an integral part of the workplace environment. As a result, the virtual office technology has removed workplace boundaries and has led to business expansion faster than we thought.
The Future- Avatar’s Of Virtual Reality
There is space for all these tools and platforms in today’s market but what should businesses expect from the best of these platforms in the near future? In that line, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT) trickle into the mainstream, the best team communication and collaboration platforms will make use of them to help you get more work done.
Enterprise tools that adopt these technologies with customer-centric development efforts will be better positioned to help businesses scale and increase ROI. Looking into the future, here are a few ways in which these new technologies can improve productivity.
Leading enterprise messengers, already use Bots to help users set reminders, create and complete To-Dos, and more. How about using bots to schedule appointments, set up polls, organize standup meetings, and even draft basic replies to emails? All these tasks are repetitive time-killers. If handled by bots, they can give your employees more time to do more quality work.
Meetings have become easier to organize with built-in video conferencing features in enterprise messengers. How about a VR app that brings people into a virtual meeting room even if they are sitting at opposite corners of the globe? This can exponentially increase the effectiveness of collaboration among distributed teams. Wow! Such the biggest projection is waiting for us. Have you imagined your office for the future? Greatest twist, right?
The use of technologies such as AI, AR, VR and IoT will change the way we work and exciting things will come from this space. However, with a plethora of available options, ensure that you only pick the best tools and technologies that help you and your teams get work done faster and better.