As we wrap up the first quarter of 2023, the office technology industry is still working to claw its way back from years of challenges, including COVID and depleted supply chains. Add to this the acceleration of hybrid work and many in the industry must feel like they’ve taken a punch to the gut.
Fortunately for the industry, hybrid work is not a new phenomenon. Even before COVID-19, industry insiders were already dealing with hybrid work — it just didn’t have such a fancy name. We used to refer to this as remote work or remote workers. How boring. Maybe we can shorten hybrid work to HW, much like digital transformation has become DX. But I digress.
So, what has changed since this trend was referred to as remote work? Not much, frankly. The most significant difference is the speed at which this transition occurred. Back in the old days (2019), it was estimated that approximately 20% of workers were remote, a trend that was likely to grow steadily in much the same way printed pages were forecast to decline steadily (these two trends weren’t directly related). Steady growth in remote work was quite reasonable. With broadband access becoming ubiquitous, communications software was expected to provide the connectivity needed to maintain employee cooperation and ultimately provide companies with the ability to source talent well beyond their physical footprint. To a large degree, this is exactly what has happened, with the exception of one wrinkle – the pandemic.
For more details related to the opportunities associated with hybrid work, check out the remainder of my blog at The Imaging Channel.