One factor that has certainly driven the growth we have seen in remote work in recent years is the advancement we have witnessed in technology. It is clear that recent technology advancements have made it easier to communicate and manage work without being located at the work location. However, exactly how has technology changed and what are some of the implications for remote work? Looking through the lens of the 4 Cs, we can take a closer look.
In the early days of remote work, communication was limited to phone and text-based email. However, more advanced communication technologies, such as cell phones and web cameras, make it easy to send messages, data, and files anywhere and at anytime. These technologies also allow us to move beyond audio and text-based means of communication, so that we can transmit non-verbal cues, images, and videos.
Connectivity is so much easier and faster due to advancements in the areas of broadband, vpn, wireless, wi-fi, and LAN’s. For example, it has been estimated that currently 90% of households with a computer subscribe to broadband services. Broadband penetration has increased rapidly – only five years ago, this figure was at 65%. These connectivity advances increasingly allow us to work from anywhere, and the greater bandwidth supports more data rich forms of communication.
The creation of tools such as wiki’s, social networking sites like LinkedIn, remote desktop access, web-based applications such as GoogleDocs, and workflow systems make it easier for workers to collaborate from more locations. These tools not only allow workers to share information but also to collaborate on a work product simultaneously, in real-time.
Content Management Systems
These systems enable organizations to easily share, access, manage versions, secure and re-use content. Some examples include Document Management Systems, knowledge repositories, Content Management Systems, Digital Asset Management, and cloud computing.
In summary, technology advances have led to richer forms of virtual communication, improved connectivity, easier and more productive collaboration, and better management of content. Together, these improvements are a big reason why we have seen such rapid growth in employees working outside the confines of the traditional office.