At the height of COVID-19, while businesses were shutting down operations, one company was living the dream of every startup: the video-conferencing app, Zoom. Zoom earned its fame by spearheading the new wave of virtual collaboration in workplaces.

So far, the impact of the pandemic has waned, but Zoom and other video conferencing apps have managed to retain the gains they accumulated during the pandemic. Yet, as businesses are opening up and people are coming out again, everyone is asking: what’s next for our workplaces?

Before the pandemic, telecommuting was a steadily growing trend, as digital technology took centre stage. That helped many businesses to cope with lockdown rules as the world battled a deadly health crisis. However, the meteoric rise of remote work, rightly hailed as a revolution, also amplified the challenges of virtual work experiences.

Therefore, the next evolution of workplaces would witness organisations striving to establish a coherent culture of virtual collaboration while perpetuating innovation. One thing is sure, though. How we work has changed forever; now, it’s time to focus on the way forward.

Teamwork Fundamentals

The global leaders of the future are those who can harness the power of digital technologies to achieve sustainable growth. These are the leaders who are really able to enhance their organisations’ performance.

Amid the ongoing digital transformation, virtual collaboration is changing the way we work. Opportunities to create new connections and relationships with people worldwide are no longer limited by physical proximity or geography. This has even changed how we socialise and interact with one another.

With collaboration technologies at the heart of this transformation, teamwork can happen anytime and anywhere, enabling organisations to be more agile and productive.

New companies have the advantage of embracing a digital workflow from the get-go to avoid the challenges of later transformation.

However, whether you are managing on-site workers or remote teams, the same fundamental principles of human capital and talent management hold, even though they must be refined according to current realities.

The essential components of effective management include setting clear expectations, developing people’s skills, providing the right tools and resources, fostering teamwork, encouraging accountability and monitoring results.

Inclusive Leadership

Inclusive leadership is a concept that has been around for some time, but with remote teams on the rise, it’s more important than ever.

Virtual collaboration technologies enable organisations to bring together people, ideas and content in new ways that drive innovation. The traditional hierarchical structure of the enterprise is giving way to a more dynamic environment where employees take ownership of their work and thrive on collaboration.

Innovative leaders are moving away from these hierarchical structures toward smarter, more inclusive approaches to business management.

This requires leaders to see beyond their noses, overcome biases, and avoid subtle acts of exclusion and microaggression that may mar the workplace experience for their teams. Community and a sense of belonging are inherent values of solid teams, no less for remote ones.

As every leader who has had to manage remote teams would quickly tell, it takes hard work to build trust, foster meaningful connections, and find ways to motivate employees who are working from home. But it is work that must be done.

Hybrid Work

Hybrid models of remote work – where employees work some days remotely and some days in an office – are here to stay.

Vital to successful leadership and management in this new world is recognising that it is not a place where one can draw a sharp line between “virtual” and “physical” collaboration. It’s a hybrid world, and it requires an organisational model specially adapted to enable effective work from anywhere.

A hybrid model allows employees to be more productive by reducing the costs associated with commuting while simultaneously allowing the company to take advantage of the resources of a dense urban location.

The key will be ensuring that employees enjoy the flexibility and convenience of working from home without sacrificing the collaborative aspects of office life.

Some fields, such as software development, are experiencing digital transformation faster than others. But eventually, every industry will catch up.

Ultimately, it’s not about how many people are in an office; it’s about building a culture that suits the way you work. The ideal future workplaces embrace this flexibility fully to build structures that adapt to their needs, rather than blindly following one route.

Intelligent Collaboration

Today, a new era is emerging that marries the intelligence of emerging technologies with the collaborative power of human teams. Team members have always had to adapt to communication technologies rather than the other way around.

Now, communication technologies are being adapted to people, making it possible for people to be more productive and collaborative than ever before.

That’s why collaboration technologies are on the cusp of a breakthrough that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of teams everywhere. And we see this play out in the tough competition between popular video conferencing and other virtual collaboration tools.

These technologies (AI, ML, automation, IoT, cloud computing, mixed reality, etc.) are transforming the workplace, opening new opportunities for collaboration and communication, enabling new ways for people to connect, and making it easier for them to work anytime, anywhere.

There is a massive chance that the current evolution of the digital economy and intelligent technologies will not just transform how we work but also the very fabric of our human societies.

Therefore, now is the best time for leaders to position their organisations for sustainable innovation and competitive advantages in future.


In today’s workplace, collaboration is a well-worn buzzword. The ability to work together in a project or process has been a critical differentiator for companies for decades. What has changed is that technology is now shifting from being a disruptive force in the workplace to an enabler of greater collaboration.

As such, employees and workforces today are connected in ways that we could have never imagined just a few decades ago. It’s changed the ways we do business and operate as humans, and it’s only going to keep evolving.