The ‘Zoomification’ of work: challenge or opportunity?

Zoomification’ is a term quickly gaining prominence in the world of HR. But what does this mean, and how can HR leaders use the situation to their advantage whilst evading the dangers? With the help of HRD Thought Leader Kevin Empey, we looked into this further.

Since the dawn of the technological age, the man vs. machine debate has manifested in all walks of life; business, entertainment, transport, and so on. Though multifaceted, its core premise is simple: is technology good or bad?

This is a question that continues to arise with each landmark development. For instance, and perhaps most recently, the integrity of artificial intelligence and ‘big data’ has been called into question in the business world.

In 2020, the debate comes into focus once more. A major by-product of the global pandemic, technology has become the crutch on which much of the business world currently rests. More specifically, this trend is being referred to as ‘Zoomification’; the absolute reliance on digital practices for corporate life to continue functioning.

In a sense, the sophistication of modern technology has spared us from even greater turmoil during this harsh period, but once again, it must be held to account. In this case, leaders must question whether this is a challenge or an opportunity, and devise a strategy for managing the situation.

What is ‘Zoomification’?
From cloud storage to word processing to virtual reality headsets; be it simple or complex, technology plays a fundamental role in 21st-century business. In fact, in 2018, the World Economic Forum even predicted that AI would create 58 million new jobs in the next five years.

In a sense, Zoomification is merely an extension of this. It serves as an acknowledgment that technology is becoming an even more crucial element of our working lives and that it will continue to play a major role in shaping our day-to-day practices in months and years to come.

More specifically, the term highlights the radical shift in the way we now communicate with colleagues. Though instant messaging and video conferencing software are not particularly new or ground-breaking, the fact that our communication now solely relies on it feels like a seismic jump.

HRD Thought Leader Kevin Empey offered some thoughts on this, helping us to more clearly define the term.

“‘I will zoom you’ is one of those phrases you hear and people seem to pick up on its meaning almost immediately, even if they then get a meeting request via Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, or Webex,” he said.

“But I think it also reflects the broader aspects of a remote and technology-enabled working culture that we have been experiencing and that we will see more of in the future.”

Expanding on his explanation, Empey goes on to point out that Zoomification could be the hallmark of a new era of work entirely.


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