We see something interesting forming out of the response to the Coronavirus lockdowns. People are starting to realize they can work from home. Remote working is something that was promised to us since about the time the Internet started. What took so long?
The truth is the technology has been around for about 20 years. For the last decade, it really kicked into high gear, thanks in part to Cisco. Around 2010, that company started to invest heavily into the development of remote worker platforms.
Here is a prime example where the inertia of the minds of people lags, by a wide margin, the technological advancements. What is possible is always outpacing what people are willing to do.
With the remote working idea, the inertia was due, in large part, to the mindset of businesses. Companies did not believe their managers could manage with workers remote. At the same time, managers were slow to believe that workers would actually do the job at home.
COVID-19 blew both these illusions out of the water. Many companies are reporting the productivity actually increased due to the new work environment. This shows how their fears, which caused the inertia, was misguided.
Yet this is always the case. People tend to fear what they do not know.
It is also what makes forecasting on technological developments so difficult. The technology path is actually much easier to predict than human psychology. While it is hard to predict when technologies are ready for mass adoption, the fact that people are involved with using them makes timelines sketchy at best.
This could be shifting some as we see younger people assuming positions of power in the business world. Those who are under 40 grew up with change as a constant. Technology was a part of their lives from when they can first remember. Thus, the idea of something new is not foreign to them.
They also lacked the stability that other generations had in the sense that things were slow to change. Industries did business the same way for decades and everyone was fine with that. For the younger generation, this was not the case. Their entire lifetime is filled with new industries, products, services, and ways of doing things.
The idea of remote working is just another in a long line of changes.
Inertia towards technological developments can really have an impact upon the pace of our society. It is a constant tug-o-war and one that does not appear likely to be resolved anytime soon.
That said, there is hope the younger people will be quicker to embrace technological change as it arrives.
Posted with STEMGeeks