Dawn of the virtual age: The digital health revolution begins

COVID-19 remote work trends

COVID-19 has heralded the start of the virtual age—which is tectonic enough to qualify as the Fifth Industrial Revolution. What can organizations do to adapt to our rapidly evolving virtual world and thrive in this new normal?

Accelerating the future of work

COVID-19 has become the catalyst that has accelerated not just the future of health, but the future of work as well—which otherwise would have taken years to reach. In the span of a few months, we have experienced a drastic shift in the way we conduct knowledge-enabled businesses. No longer are we going into the office each day, traveling to our clients, and conducting in-person meetings. We attend meetings, workshops, and trainings all over the internet from anywhere in the world.

The biggest shift we have seen in the future of work is the ability to work from home. As the uncertainty of COVID-19 persists, we are seeing company leadership recognize not just the health challenges, but also the utility of the technical tools being used that have enabled seamless transition out of the office environment. First, Google and Facebook announced that employees will work from home through the middle of 2021. To top that, Twitter announced that all employees could choose to work from home forever. Working from a beach or sitting by a waterfall is no longer a pipe dream. The only limitation is connectivity.

As corporate citizens and a society, we have to anticipate and prepare for this new model that will shape the way we conduct business, interact with colleagues, and build relationships. We expect new hybrid remote and on-site models that will evolve and need to be implemented at speed. And we’ve already seen similar trends affect the retail industry: To match customer needs and evolving technologies, there has been a steady shift away from the traditional brick-and-mortar operations to online models. And the same is happening today within businesses.

Thriving in the virtual age

As many organizations take a longer-term view to thrive in the rapidly evolving virtual age, they should be prepared to answer some important questions: How does a company manage a workforce that is newly spread out around the world? How do we connect people remotely and help them build strong relationships? What does a hybrid on-side and remote business model look like?

To help organizations answer these questions, we’ve identified five archetypes of success in the virtual age:

An opportunity in disguise

We’re fortunate to live in these times where we are experiencing such a rapid shift in behaviors that affect us both personally and professionally. Rapid change brings to the fore big opportunities. As we move into this virtual world, network effects and the prevalence of winner-take-all or winner-take-most models become only more important.

The life cycle to test concepts and innovate will shrink dramatically. Firms that effectively execute on those five elements we outlined will create value for their customers, as well as their workforce. Those that steadfastly adhere to the above litmus test will be the ones to win.

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