Historically, the main ways businesses have controlled costs and uncertainty during a recession or other work disruptions are adding automation and refining workflow to reduce shared tasks. A July 2020 study showed that 67% of surveyed senior executives said they were increasing investment in automation or AI technology. 

We discussed how this trend has significantly changed essential industries but it will be important for all businesses and organizations to take a deeper look at how they assess workflow and manage operations. Tools that dig into how work is completed, touchpoints in day-to-day operations, bottlenecks, and wasted time, will help leaders create efficiencies for the future. 

Operations management professionals should try to remove past bias when reevaluating workflow and forget about how things have been done in the past. New workflows can focus on critical tasks and how they are completed and supported by the larger team, rather than sticking to existing buckets of work determined just by job description.  

The future of workplace operations will include maintaining flexibility, investing in automation tools, optimizing remote work, expanding health and safety standards, and attracting and retaining top talent. After a year mostly defined by change, embrace the opportunity to use all we have learned and the tools available to more accurately predict the future of your organization.