The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 has thrust businesses into a new era of working. Many businesses who may have once scoffed at the idea of remote working, have now had to embrace the concept in its entirety. Learning how to adapt to new technologies and to collaborate effectively. It has become clear that a high percentage of businesses will never return to the office again, instead choosing to keep their costs lower by continuing to operate remotely and by realising for the first time, the benefit it may have on their future.
An unexpected bi-product of companies having to run their enterprises remotely, is the spotlight that has been shone on mental health. Due to the environmental factors remote working can bring with it, such as loneliness, procrastination and a lack of visual leadership, as well as the stress felt initially by many as they adjusted to travelling to the next room in their home instead of commuting daily, bosses are being forced to pay attention to the impacts on mental health in a way they may have shied away from before.
One of the predictions for 2021 will be an increase in mandatory training and discussion opportunities within businesses to help employees become aware of their mental health and to deal with any issues that arise from it. How this will be tackled without face to face meetings will inevitably come in the face of technology.
Technology is the key to survival for any business heading into 2021. Forbes.Com predicts that remote working will jump from 16.4% to 34.4% as we head into next year.
Whether business owners and leaders want to continue managing their companies remotely in the future or not, one thing is for certain that employees now have the confidence to request it, and unlike before the pandemic when many excuses could be given and accepted for refusal to allow home-working, what excuse is there now?
Businesses will need to accept that remote working is here to stay and adapt to new technologies to help them survive post pandemic. One of the biggest predictions is the rise in automation technology. Automation technology will be required to help employees be more effective. AI, ML and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is sure to be ramped up in 2021.
With so much information and documentation now being shared via Cloud, it is predicted that the Cloud Computing Industry will reign at the top of the technology sector, growing from $371.4 billion over the next five years, to $832.1 billion. Cloud technology has sealed its place as an essential part of enterprise tech and will give businesses the resilience they need by making the sudden shift in work habits less disruptive.
As technology grows rapidly, so will the need for more secure networks. Cybersecurity will be at the top of the list for workforces and along with it, a booming investment into intelligent and intent-based network systems. Alongside this, businesses will be focusing on data analytics technology, capable of securely handling information.
Technology once grew alongside us at a pace we were comfortable with, and as such, developers in software didn’t have to worry too much about the speed at which they developed. But the unpredictable year of 2020 meant a surge in use of technology and the demand for innovation. In 2019 it was reported that Africa was the world’s fastest growing continent for software developers with Microsoft investing $100 million to open its first centres on the continent , employing 100 African developers full-time in order to grow its developer pool to 500 by 2023. Now perhaps this figure will rise as technology advances at a faster pace than anyone expected it too in 2019.
Global Talent network Andela, has offices in the USA as well as locations across Africa. In June 2020, they expanded their global technology network to all African engineers. This increased their presence from six countries to the entire continent. Some would say this is a prediction in itself, of how Andela values software engineers in Africa and how confident they are in the demand for them in 2021 and beyond. Andela helps its customers gain access to high-quality, full-time software engineers who work long-term as embedded team members. Despite economic downturn in the USA, high-growth companies continue to need more engineering talent as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. It looks very much as though Africa is the talent pool to be searching in, in 2021.
One of the most obvious predictions for 2021, and something technology software enthusiasts everywhere must already be working on, is the need for robust and effective remote higher-learning platforms. With so many universities affected by face to face classes and hands-on learning in 2020, surely this has to be one of the markets that will break through in 2021?
No one knows for sure what will happen next year, but what we do know is that technology has boomed in 2020 and is not expected to slow down in its rapid growth in 2021. If a company isn’t already embracing technological advances, getting onboard with software to help distributed teams, and ensuring they keep on top of staff burnout and mental health, they won’t succeed over the next twelve months. Even the most technophobe of CEO’s and individuals have learned to take a look at what will help them survive, whether that’s in business or in life. Being able to stay connected to those around us in a professional and personal sense will come in the form of artificial intelligence and software in 2021 and only those who take the time to embrace this change and learn from it, will benefit in the long-term.