The future of work: Top collaboration trends for 2020

Written by Freya

20th January 2020

As we move into a new decade, we continue to battle the workplace practices of the 20th century. We’re often talking about the “future of work”, when in fact those new ideals and workplace needs aren’t being met in the “right now” of work.

What does the future of work mean?

 The Future of Work can be defined as the practices and process of people working alongside technology. Specifically with the advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning. We know that in order for people to stay relevant in the workplace, they will need to adapt.  The way in which they work will change.

With the infiltration of millennials into the workplace over the past 20 years, the skillset desired has fundamentally changed. Companies are less focussed on academic achievements, and more focussed of traits such as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication.

A big part of the future of work is a move away from traditional office buildings, where whole teams or departments would co-locate. The workplace is digital now. Working from anywhere is becoming the norm, and technology is enabling these new desired skillsets for the 21st-century workplace.

So, what are the trends we will see in 2020 in this new digital workplace?

The future of video conferencing

Hardly a new trend right? Skype for Business has been around for a lifetime, Webex is ruling the market and Zoom is creeping right up behind it. But in 2020 we’ll see a shift. A shift away from people hiding with cameras turned off.  In an age where Gen-Z has grown up with a camera in their hand, and Facetime being the default, it is no longer acceptable to hide behind your computer screen.

Moving to a video-on-by-default mode will mean people have more engaging meetings, their productivity will increase and they won’t feel like working from anywhere is second rate. Video is the enabler for 2020 digital workplaces.

Co-creating work

We mentioned earlier that collaboration is one of the most sought after skills in the 21st-century workplace. Co-creation is a big part of that, being able to work together with another person or group of people to create something of value.

Tools like Box, Dropbox, Notion and Google have firmly cemented their place on employees desktops and mobile phones. Multiple people working on a document, across multiple devices is no longer a thing of the past. And with that comes new workplace etiquette.

2020 is about knowing when to hand off a piece of work, knowing how to tactfully input, and how to share knowledge with colleagues rather than keeping it in your own arsenal.

Real-time working out loud

We’ve come a long way in terms of communication in the last 20 years, but our ability to communicate at speed has increased exponentially. No longer do people wait for meetings to discuss something. It’s a quick message dropped into a channel/space/team.

The “Teams” trend will be strong this year with Microsoft and Webex both adding swathes of new features to their respective chat platforms, and building out integrations so chat conversations seamlessly move to meetings.

This isn’t a new concept, we’ve been texting now since the late 90s, but working in real-time will take 2020’s productivity to a whole new level.

Future of work challenges

All of these things won’t happen overnight, they require a specific adoption effort and strong innovation leadership. Having clear focussed goals, identifying workflow problems to solve, and putting the right people behind them is the only way that any company will move into the 21st-century workplace. The alternative? It’s not worth thinking about.

Considering your digital workplace goals for 2020? Lets chat.

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