The 4 waves of
remote working

  • In our view, there are four waves of remote working, and right now, we’re in the middle of the COVID-19-induced third wave. The COVID-19 crisis is hastening organizations’ ambitions to embrace remote working as the new normal. What CIOs around the globe need to think about is how to make this happen.

    What’s interesting is that, over recent years, we’ve already seen “traditional” ways of working being pressured from various directions, including the impact of the sharing economy on lifestyle, the gradual decline in commute efficiency, the fight   for millennial talent and the impact of the climate crisis on air travel. This is perhaps why many jobs were already starting to be enabled remotely, from contact centers to customer service, computer programming to sales, data entry to medical billing, coding to design.

    What is becoming clear is that the post-COVID-19 new normal will be different. Boston Consulting Group’s view is that “comfort with remote work will reshape our future workplace,” where flexible work arrangements will increasingly be the norm.1

  • Comfort with remote work will reshape our future workplace.

  • In the post-COVID-19 fourth wave of remote working, organizations wishing to drive sustainable competitive advantage will have to resolve a set of challenges across both technologies and people, and piece together talent attraction and retention, employee engagement, and partner engagement effectiveness in a cohesive manner. Underlying this wave will be the emerging deployment across key industries of a set of new technologies now taking shape, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and spatial sensing and mapping.

    For example, remote workers will need access to experts, call center operators will need an environment where security and data privacy issues are well addressed, and teachers will need a way to monitor tests and exams. It’s critical to start with the user’s needs and create a user experience that threads back through the supporting technologies to create a user-friendly and highly functional working environment.

  • It’s critical to start with user’s needs and create a user experience through the supporting technologies.

  • Figure 1