Changes in technology have transformed your office space into something the previous generation wouldn’t recognize, and the next generation is likely to see even bigger transformations. Remote technology, the internet of things (IoT), cloud-based applications and an array of new devices are all making it possible for the majority of people to work from home. A 2015 survey showed 79 percent of office workers did their jobs remotely at least once per week, suggesting technology is impacting the way employees approach their jobs.
Arizona-based entrepreneur and IoT expert Jason Hope is fascinated by the spread of new technology. He has his finger on the pulse of these growing trends and dedicates funds to investing in new opportunities and providing grants to people seeking to develop new breakthroughs in technology. Hope believes “as a platform is settled on for the Internet of Things, and more devices hit the market with their unique approaches and business models, the industry is going to take on a new look.”
The Remote Work Boom
Work used to be a place you went, a separate setting from home requiring a commute, a professional wardrobe and sometimes a briefcase full of papers. Today, work is a thing you do anywhere, any time, including at home on the couch in your pajamas.
Millennials are largely responsible for this change in definition. The younger generation of employees prefers the flexibility offered by IoT connectivity and wants to be able to work in whatever environment is the most comfortable. Businesses are embracing this mindset by implementing technological frameworks to make flexible schedules and remote work more accessible while maintaining a unified, productive staff. Employees can now spend some or all of their time working outside the office without feeling cut off from the activities of the company.
Automating Tedious Tasks
Technology has been a boon for efficiency as new ways of tackling time-consuming business operations have emerged. In the past, employers were faced with a range of duties requiring a lot of time but amounting to little in terms of returns. Accounting and payroll, human resources, invoicing, inventory and some aspects of customer relations all demanded daily attention and took the focus away from the main goals and visions of the company.
Integrated applications are now being combined with IoT technology to handle these tasks largely in the background. Jason Hope notes “the Internet of Things, and connectivity in general, is going to be so common place, we also won’t think about it” in the near future. Examples of this are already emerging in the form of “smart” retail shelving capable of triggering orders to replenish stock before popular items run out, manufacturing machines with the ability to calibrate themselves to maximize output and services allowing companies to integrate data from their connected products to better serve customers. The IoT Cloud from Salesforce is a perfect example of how connectivity is influencing the way companies collect and manage information to streamline common processes.
Cloud applications and technologies power both the growth in remote work and the ability to automate common tasks. By switching to cloud-based software, companies can:
• Manage documents in real time while reducing paper use
• Consolidate messaging under one platform
• Hold video conferences with remote employees or international partners
• Bring remote teams together to brainstorm, share ideas and complete projects
• Track employee time and productivity
• Provide onboarding and training for new workers
• Set up ongoing training for existing employees
Thanks to applications like Slack, Google G Suite, Office 365, Basecamp and Dropbox, employees can connect to the office from any device. As wearable technology becomes more popular, it may soon be possible for staff members to work using smart watches and other small electronics. “The biggest changes,” says Jason Hope, “will probably have to do with bringing non-electronic, analog devices into the digital age.”
What does all this mean for the future of the workplace? Employees are likely to do more work at “hot desks,” rentable spaces within company offices or available in co-working environments. Collaboration may shift from traditional meetings to remote conferences, and more companies could follow the example of Buffer and shift their operations to completely remote workforces.
As the IoT expands and brings new technologies into every facet of the workplace, Jason Hope plans to stay on top of new developments. The tech aficionado continues to work in Scottsdale, pouring his energy into inventions, entrepreneurial endeavors and philanthropic projects. Hope believes not only in bolstering the development of technology but also supporting “humanitarian organizations that are working to improve the future of mankind.” His dedication to these fields puts him in the unique position of being able to make predictions about the growth of IoT and identify the best investment opportunities to propel today’s offices into the future.