I was interested in looking into the latest trends being researched by companies in 2023, so I hopped onto Google Trends to find out what they are and see if there were any surprises.

As it happens there was and it was actually the biggest one, Remote Working.

I have to be honest and say I thought that most companies had resolved this and had settled into some kind of new normal/hybrid arrangement. If Google search is anything to go by, I am very much mistaken!

We all know that recent events catapulted working from home and I, like many others, now experience a shorter commute. (Bedroom to Office circa 2 minutes).

What surprised me is that even after all this time it still seems a fundamental challenge for businesses to grasp.

In my experience, it isn’t so much the concept, but how teams communicate that is at the heart of the issue.

The argument around what is best, remote or office, isn’t something I want to get into as it is so very personal and also dependent on what industry you are in, however for ‘Office’ based businesses the jury still seems to be out or at least a mixed bag.

From what I have witnessed, the problems for remote/hybrid seem to be firmly rooted in the technology.

As companies raced to get the tech in front of their employees to facilitate remote work, the usual training and how to use it effectively was bypassed, leading us to a situation we have now where everybody does it ‘their own way!’

Tech providers also ramped up everything they could to throw as many functions as possible to these new online collaboration tools and now we are faced with so many potential uses and ways of working within each ecosystem, many people are just completely ignoring the ongoing plethora of features being added at an alarming rate, in favour of doing what they have always done (Talk and message – Skype circa 2011).

Indeed a quick search on the internet will provide you with things like “The Top 55 features you should be using in Microsoft Teams” Fifty-Five !!!! 

It’s become ridiculous. Let’s be honest, most of us just want to be able to see our colleagues in a meeting, send some messages and share a screen. That’s it, thank you, goodnight….

Having said that, I know there will be some of you reading this that use a lot more features (still probably not 55 though), and, if that is your industry and as a company you are all tech savvy, I get it. But this isn’t most people who are using these tools. They just want to communicate, simply and easily from the comfort of their home office.

At this point, I should confess to being a tech junky. I love it, I keep up to date on the latest advancements, watch Youtube videos, how to’s and generally take an interest in all things tech based. That being said, I still don’t use all of the functionality. Why? 1. Because I don’t need it and 2. If I did, most of the people I interact with wouldn’t know how to engage me back with it!

I believe businesses need to take a holistic approach, one where all functions are brought together to look at how best they need to communicate, collaborate and deliver the required outcomes. One where the whole enterprise works in the same manner, with the same tools, in the same way.

This requires all functional departments to appraise what it is they actually need and for the Technology and Learning & Development teams to put together a simplified solution that works for all, not just the few. You then bring everyone to the table and each has a voice.

In a world so full of technology that “There’s an app for that”, businesses must get smarter and become simpler for the inclusion of all.

If any of this resonates, and you would like to have an informal conversation about how COGENT can potentially assist you with this, feel free to send me a note.