In March 2020, the working world changed forever. By April 2020, about half of all companies reported that more than 80% of their employees worked from home because of Covid-19. Most never went back to the office—remote work is here to stay.
Forced to take life online, technology became of primal importance. Digital transformation is now a basic requirement for any organization wanting to keep up. Technology workers, already in high demand before, are now even more sought after to help build a world where we all rely on technology for the most basic activities.
How Technology Will Sustain Remote Work in 2022
69% of boards of directors accelerated digital transformation as a consequence of Covid-19, a survey by Gartner shows. The trend is here to stay, with organizations’ focus being on contactless services (60.1%), moving to the Cloud (52.25%), and DevOps activities (51.75%).
According to the data, we forecast some software development trends for 2022:
1. The Cloud will Become More and More Important
The Cloud will play an increasingly important role in technology in 2022 and the years to come. Everything that can be moved to the Cloud, will be moved to the Cloud.
Take, for instance, the onboarding of a new developer at a company. It’s common for them to spend a couple of weeks trying to get everything running on their local machine. This is extremely time-consuming, not only for the new hire but also for more experienced engineers who need to assist in the process.
As of now, most automated builds, staging environments, and running production applications have already moved to the Cloud. Local development environments are the next step.
Microsoft and Amazon have already started working on this and in 2021 both released solutions (GitHub Codespaces by Microsoft, and AWS Cloud9 by Amazon) that offer development environments accessible on browsers in a matter of seconds.
2. DevOps will Play an Important Part
Google’s DORA has conducted research showing that “elite performing engineering organizations are twice as likely to achieve their organizational goals and achieve a 50% higher growth rate over three years”.
To speed up pipelines and deliver new functionality quickly, teams need to make sure their processes and tools are as good as they can possibly be, removing impediments and bottlenecks. Thus, the importance of DevOps and practices that enable constant delivery. If you need help with your DevOps transformation, we are here to help.
3. AI-assisted Development
In 2021, we’ve already witnessed AI starting to make its way into development tools. GitHub Copilot, IBM AI for Code, and a new query language generator by Oracle are some of the innovations that point into the direction of AI-assisted development.
In 2022, Forrester “expects to see AI bots in nearly all development tools, adding natural language and other capabilities to the developer’s toolbox”.
4. Rise of Low-code Platforms
In 2017, Forbes classified low-code platforms as “extraordinarily disruptive,” and the trend has accelerated. “Low-code application platforms are expected to remain the largest component of the low-code development technology market through 2022, increasing nearly 30% from 2020 to reach $5.8 billion in 2021”, forecasts Gartner, adding that “by 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity.”
How Can Companies Support Remote Workers?
“The new normal” is here to stay. But what does it mean for employers and employees?
Research shows that remote employees with positive experiences are 28% more productive and 46% more engaged. There’s a clear benefit for companies: those that provide a quality remote employee experience attain 25% higher profits and 37% lower turnover.
The numbers seem optimistic, but they only apply when the remote work employee experience is done right and comes as a priority for the organization. But how can this be achieved?
Tips to Manage Teams’ Workload
Remote work brings many challenges and intensifies struggles that employers and employees already faced before. Research shows that 71% of workers experienced burnout in 2020, and 87% had to work extra hours.
Burnout is far from being a personal problem. The psychological and physical problems of employees suffering from burnout cost an estimated $125 to $190 billion per year in healthcare in the US alone. Add the decrease in productivity, high turnover rates, and the loss of talent in the organizations. And, the most important cost of all, the wellbeing of your employees.
To fight this, companies need to master workload management. But this isn’t just about making sure your employees are not overworked. Rather, it’s about strategically distributing work among your team to achieve the highest possible productivity levels, leveraging individual strengths, and acknowledging the weaknesses of each member. Here are some tips to put it into practice:
1. Define Priorities
If employees don’t know which tasks are urgent and which are not, they cannot self-manage and make informed decisions when prioritizing work. Try applying deadlines to each task, as this will give people a guideline to know if they are on track or not.
2. Create a Shift Schedule
The 9–5 work schedule is long dead. Now, most companies allow employees to manage their working hours, providing flexibility that lets people fit work into their lives, rather than the other way around.
But this can create stress and workload imbalance amongst team members. For example, not having enough team members working at a certain time might mean more workload for others.
Analyze company needs and, while allowing flexibility, organize people’s schedules to ensure that flexibility doesn’t disrupt productivity and a healthy balance between team members.
3. Keep People Informed
Especially in remote environments, keeping information available is important. Remember that remote workers don’t casually chat by the coffee machine or bump into each other in the corridors. Make an active effort to ensure everyone is aware of what they need to know.
4. Maintain Constant and Open Communication
Building on the previous point, make sure that people get the information they need. When they do, everything runs faster and smoother. Consider having regular meetings where people can share relevant information with their teams or with the entire organization.
On the other hand, keep communication channels open in the other direction. Make your employees feel like they can voice their feelings and opinions. This study shows that 74% of employees report they are more effective at their job when they feel heard.
By promoting a healthy workload management, you contribute to happier employees and teams that are more productive and willing to contribute to the company’s success.
How Employees Can Boost Work-life Balance
Companies have a major role in employee wellbeing, but employees also have to play their part. The American Psychiatric Association conducted an online survey of remote workers in early 2021. The findings are troublesome: “the majority of employees working from home say they experienced negative mental health impacts, including isolation, loneliness, and difficulty getting away from work at the end of the day.”
If you’re working remotely, or even hybrid, you need to be mindful of your own wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Recommendations widespread at the beginning of the pandemic remain valid and vitally important, especially as you accumulate tiredness from months and years of remote work. Here are some tips to keep in mind when working from home:
1. Create a Proper Home Office Setting
Forget about working from your bed or even from the couch. Designate a specific space in the house to be your home office, and treat it as such. Make sure you have an appropriate desk, a comfortable chair, and natural light.
2. Use Quality Technology
With the adoption of remote work, many companies provided employees with funding to equip their home working spaces. Make use of this and buy the necessary equipment to guarantee the best working space possible. If your company doesn’t offer support, it might be worth it to bring up the topic with HR.
3. Maintain Consistent Working Hours
While remote work usually comes with the benefit of flexible working times, be aware of its downside: if you don’t have a schedule, work will take over your whole day.
Make use of the flexibility to accommodate activities like dropping your kids at school or going to a doctor’s appointment, but don’t let everything else get into your working hours, otherwise, you will have the feeling you are on duty all the time.
4. Sleep and Eat Well
Giving your body proper rest and nutrition at all times. While working from home, it’s easy to slip into unhealthy habits such as staying up late or snacking throughout the day. Be wary, as these will have an impact on your productivity and overall wellbeing.
5. Move Your Body
Especially during pandemic times, it’s easy to finish work but remain sitting at the same desk, looking at a screen during your free hours.
The human body was not made to sit all day. It was made to move, be stimulated, and interact with others. Make sure you take breaks during working times and have a proper lunch hour, where you can even go for a walk. When work is done, get your body moving. Go out, do some sports, or try yoga to stretch your muscles and alleviate pain from the bad posture while sitting.
GitHub’s 2021 State of the Octoverse report shows that while 41% of respondents were co-located in an office before the pandemic, only 10.7% expected to remain in the office once it is over. Furthermore, companies that embrace fully remote work are expected to increase by 46% compared with before the pandemic.
These trends show that digital transformation is key to survival. However, 70% of digital transformation initiatives fall short of their goals, here are 5 Easy Tricks to kickstart your DevOps Transformation today.
Co-founder of Buildingbettersoftware and Agile Leadership Coach
Søren Pedersen is a strategic leadership consultant and international speaker. With more than fifteen years of software development experience at LEGO, Bang & Olufsen, and Systematic, Pedersen knows how to help clients meet their digital transformation goals by obtaining organizational efficiency, alignment, and quality assurance across organizational hierarchies and value chains. Using Agile methodologies, he specializes in value stream conversion, leadership coaching, and transformation project analysis and execution. He’s spoken at DevOps London, is a contributor for The DevOps Institute, and is a Certified Scrum Master and Product Owner.
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