The Future of Work is Connected

It’s almost impossible to imagine the modern workplace without some integration of technology and connectivity. Even the most basic of businesses use some form of connected tech to power their operations, from small coffee shop’s payment terminals to the advent of AI, from IoT-driven logistics through to connected autonomous plant machinery in the construction sector – the scale of the change in recent years has been incredibly fast and massively exciting.

This change underscores the fact that the future of work is connected, perhaps even more so than it already is today, despite the wide adoption of a diverse array of technologies.

We believe that connected technology has had a significant impact on working practices across these six key areas in recent years.


I think we can all agree that technology has greatly improved communication in the workplace by providing new and more efficient ways to connect with colleagues and clients.

The main benefit is that technology has made it possible for employees to communicate with each other in real-time, regardless of their location. This has improved the speed and efficiency of communication and, in theory, at least, has made it easier for employees to collaborate on projects and make decisions.

It is unlikely to conceive of a modern workplace without the, sometimes dreaded, inbox.

Email as a concept has only been around for 50 years since Ray Tomlinson sent himself an email over his ARPANET system. It took a further 12 years for this to be developed for public use, but in the last 30 or so years the rate of both adoption and email response expectation has increased exponentially.

There has also been an explosion in instant messaging systems, making it possible to send and receive messages even more quickly and easily, regardless of geographic location.

This reliance on digital communication through connectivity has also made it easy to work with clients and other external stakeholders, improving the flow of information and communication. This can also be a double-edged sword as connectivity has become even more critical in the modern workplace due to its operationally crucial nature.

Connected communications are disproportionately important in sectors that rely on human resources for success. An example would be the impact of communications on construction projects involving a large number of people working together, including architects, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors. According to a report by the International Construction Market Survey, delays are the most common problem faced by construction projects, with 60% of projects experiencing some form of delay. Good communication is essential for coordinating the work of these different groups and ensuring that everyone is on the same page to minimise the threat of delays and directly impacting commercial performance via productivity.


Connectivity has made it possible for employees to participate in virtual meetings, webinars, and video conferences, which has reduced the need for travel and has made it easier for employees to meet with colleagues and clients from different locations.

One of the major impacts of connectivity in the workplace is the transformational aspect it brings to collaboration. Since the start of 2019, and greatly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is estimated that the adoption of collaboration tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack has increased by over 300%.

This is also reflected if you “follow the money.” The global collaboration software market is projected to grow from $7.65 billion in 2020 to $12.82 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2% during the forecast period.

As a signal from early adopters in the IT industry, a study by Spiceworks, a professional network for IT professionals, found that 90% of surveyed companies are using collaboration tools. In the UK a survey by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) found that 75% of UK companies are using collaboration tools to support remote working.

Some of these collaboration tools are now baked into how we seemingly all work and mirror how we also connect in our personal lives. Social media-esque team collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Asana have made it easier to share information and work on projects as a team.

Again, using the construction sector as an example, one of the major challenges with every construction project can be summarised as “time is money.” From our experience, we know that when projects are often costed and planned keenly with ambitious milestones, the cost of dead time on site can be huge. Most construction projects encounter problems and challenges that need to be addressed in a timely and effective manner, so good collaboration can help the project team identify and resolve problems quickly, minimizing delays and disruptions and maximising productivity by significant orders of magnitude.


The concept of remote working has entered the mainstream consciousness due to the COVID-19 pandemic response, but the appetite for and growth in home working was already well underway beforehand.

Take the U.S as an example, a 2020 report by Global Workplace Analytics, remote work has grown by 91% over the past decade, with remote workers now accounting for 3.6% of the total U.S. workforce. The report also estimates that 25-30% of the total U.S. workforce would be working remotely multiple days a week by the end of 2021.

The three statistics below show the impact of the pandemic on remote working, but we believe this is a trend that is unlikely to return back to a pre-pandemic level:

The US

  • A 2020 Gallup poll found that 62% of U.S. workers reported that they had worked remotely at least some of the time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In terms of virtual meetings, a 2020 study by Zoom found that the average number of daily meeting participants increased by 4x and the average daily meeting duration increased by 12x during the pandemic.
  • According to a 2020 report by the TUC (Trades Union Congress), the number of UK workers who regularly work from home has increased by a third (32%) since the start of the pandemic.

The UK

  • A 2020 survey by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) found that 41% of UK employees were working from home, with a further 10% working remotely part of the time.
  • Another 2020 survey by Deloitte found that over 50% of UK companies have implemented remote working policies and that nearly 80% of companies plan to continue to allow remote working in the future.

The work-from-home revolution is in full swing and it’s not just driven by pandemics. There is a strong motivation in terms of talent acquisition (mentioned later), employee well-being and demand from the workforce themselves. A 2020 study by Buffer, a social media management platform found that 99% of respondents would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers.

Talent Acquisition

As we’ve hinted at above, technology and connectivity are transforming the way that companies acquire talent. With the rise of the internet, social media, and online job boards, it is now much easier for companies to advertise job openings and attract candidates from a much wider pool.

Additionally, online tools such as video conferencing and collaboration software, as mentioned above, have made it possible for companies to hire the best talent from anywhere in the world. This has led to a more diverse and globalized workforce and has opened up new opportunities for people to find jobs that may not have been available to them before.

It’s also clear that companies are responding to this seismic shift driven by connectivity. A 2020 report by FlexJobs, a job search website that specializes in remote and flexible jobs, found that job postings for remote positions have increased by 91% since 2005, and by 44% between 2015 and 2020.


If we look beyond the human-to-human side of connectivity, and the downstream impact on the shape and location of the workforce, we’ve also seen a huge increase in the demand for access to information and resources – often in the cloud.

Cloud-based tools such as Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox make it easy to share files and documents with others, allowing for real-time collaboration on documents.

We’re also seeing a massive change in how departments and teams work with online systems, such as cloud-based accounting, ERP systems, CRM platforms and more.

In the construction industry, we’re ever more aware of the most ambitious, forward-thinking companies adopting project management systems in the cloud, alongside file-sharing systems. This is to ensure everyone has access to the same information, revisions are tracked and audits and processes are simplified. This is helping to improve quality and productivity enormously thanks to the minimisation of errors and the need to go back to the work site for amends and snagging.

Alongside this shift, there is a huge boom in data-driven business decision-making. Technology has enabled the use of data and analytics to make better business decisions on evidence, data science and insight rather than emotional hunches or tradition. From marketing through to inventory, from production through to sales and customer services, connection to consumers, suppliers and even equipment and assets through the internet of things relies on connectivity to power productivity and competitive advantage.


As we move into the next industrial revolution, connectivity has made automation of certain tasks possible, increasing productivity and reducing the need for manual labour. There are many tasks and processes that can be automated in a business using technology. 

Some examples include

Data entry and management

Accounting and bookkeeping

Customer service and support

Marketing and advertising

Inventory management

Email and calendar scheduling

Human resources tasks such as recruiting and onboarding

Supply chain and logistics management

Website and social media management

Sales and customer relationship management

We’re also seeing huge leaps forward in innovative work practices that may not be listed above, like the sci-fi-esque revolution of connected autonomous plant machinery in the construction industry. Autonomous plant, also known as self-driving plant or autonomous construction equipment, refers to construction machinery that is capable of operating independently without the need for human intervention. This can include a wide range of equipment, such as bulldozers, excavators, concrete mixers, and more.

Autonomous plant is typically equipped with sensors, GPS, and other advanced technologies that allow it to navigate and perform tasks on a construction site. The use of autonomous plant can potentially improve construction efficiency, reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, and lower labour costs.

It’s worth noting that not all tasks are suitable for automation and some workflows may require human intervention, but the fundamental premise of automation relies on the connectivity between people and the multitude of complex systems involved.

Automation can bring more efficiency, cost-saving, and scalability to operations, but it may also have an impact on the jobs and skills of the employees – which should be considered in the overall business strategy alongside the digital transformation trio of people, processes and platforms.


It’s easy to see why here at Onwave, we consider connectivity to be the “fourth utility” as it powers so much of modern business operations.

Technology has completely transformed the way we work, making it more flexible and interconnected. We rely on tech and connectivity more than ever and this raises its importance to critical in most organisations.

We may be biased of course, but here are some independent statistics on digital transformation, all of which rely on robust, resilient connectivity to power them:

  • According to a survey by Deloitte, 84% of companies say they are in the process of digital transformation.
  • A study by IDC estimated that global spending on digital transformation technologies reached $1.97 trillion in 2021.
  • Research from McKinsey suggests that digital leaders are 26% more profitable than their peers and have 2.5x more cash flow.
  • A survey by Gartner found that 79% of organizations believe digital business is critical to their success.
  • According to a report by Accenture, digital transformation can lead to an average revenue increase of 21%.
  • Research from the Boston Consulting Group suggests that digital transformation can lead to an average cost reduction of 14%.

We’d love to help you connect your business to realise the benefits of digital transformation, including cost reduction, revenue growth, profitability through productivity and better cash flow.

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