By Dean Guida, CEO and founder of Cranbury-based software maker Infragistics
The workplace is no longer a single physical space that team members occupy during a fixed set of working hours. Employees can work from anywhere in the world. And in light of the pandemic, more organizations are working to reshape their workplaces to be productive for in-person, remote and hybrid teams.
When COVID-19 began impacting companies and their people more than two years ago, everything quickly moved online as team members struggled to work together and be productive without being able to collaborate in person. Thankfully, our global company had a lot of people who were already working remotely, and we had the infrastructure already in place to support it. As a result, our productivity remained extremely high. But many organizations were in disarray and their productivity suffered as they scrambled to cobble together apps such as Asana, Slack and Tableau to connect their teams.
We were not alone in the realization that digital transformation can help foster collaboration and productivity in an increasingly digital world. The pandemic speeded the adoption of digital technologies by several years. Nearly all the business executives (85%) surveyed by McKinsey said their businesses accelerated the implementation of technologies that digitally enable employee interaction and collaboration. Digital adoption took a quantum leap, as the pandemic spurred digital transformations in a matter of weeks, rather than months or years.
After they were forced online, organizations sought tools to boost employee engagement and agility, empower their people to succeed and keep them truly connected when the pandemic forced them apart.
This was a wake-up call for me. I realized that businesses needed a better digital workplace with a single platform that would allow teams to collaborate on data analytics, projects, content and chat. The surge of employees pushed to work from home needed one comprehensive tool — not the patchwork of various apps that they were constantly switching between, wasting a lot of time.
Five years ago, we had begun nurturing a new product called “Slingshot.” The Infragistics Innovation Lab, which allows our internal inventors to experiment with innovations beyond the company’s core UI/UX products, ramped up its efforts to develop the Slingshot platform to meet the needs of organizations that were unprepared for the pandemic and the needs of virtual workers. Internal and external beta testing honed the software’s features. We wanted the platform to contain a project management interface with native chat functionality, content sharing, and a data catalog that would act as a central location for the data that matters to an organization, so teams can make informed decisions through dashboards.
With the recent launch of Slingshot, we’ve built a workplace where teams can get work done in the digital realm, allowing members to be productive no matter where they are. Slingshot streamlines companies’ workplace tech stacks by giving remote, in-person and hybrid teams a single place where they can collaborate, make data-driven decisions, set goals, share content and communicate within the context of the projects they’re working on. Slingshot is a digital workplace tool that allows successful organizations to seize new opportunities and drive their businesses forward, both now and in the future.
Remote Work Goes Mainstream
While we don’t know what the future holds when it comes to remote and hybrid work, employers are ramping up their efforts to bring workers back to the office. However, 24% of professional jobs remain fully remote, according to the Ladders’ Q1 2022 Quarterly Remote Work Report, That’s eight times the number of remote employees in the first quarter of 2020 (3%). Indeed, the number of remote jobs is expected to increase by 25% by the end of 2022.
Employers facing the “great resignation” and the resulting loss of talent have had no choice but to embrace remote work. In the new normal, corporate leaders will have to address the unaccustomed challenges of managing hybrid teams. The most successful business leaders will drive their organizations into the post-pandemic future with innovative tools that will enable their employees to succeed and be more productive. Organizations that shed outdated processes and enable innovation through digital transformation will have a strategic advantage.