Blockchain and the Future of Work
In the short time since the coronavirus pandemic hit, the ways we think about and interact with our workplaces have drastically changed. For millions, new avenues of remote work possibilities opened up practically overnight. These developments mean new opportunities but they also produce new challenges for workers.
With workers now needing to communicate on a decentralised basis, the traditional in-house servers and office networks no longer provide the same level of functionality. Now, remote workers rely on digital communication systems over the cloud to fulfil a broad number of functions. Security of these systems is more essential than ever because the pandemic brought with it a new wave of cybercrime.
Facing these challenges, blockchain has the potential to be a highly beneficial tool in the efforts to adapt and secure the new normal of all workforce functions. It's not just to do with crypto or digital currency anymore. Blockchain may just be the key to meeting the needs of the changing workplace. Here, we take a look at the potential of a blockchain solution, and how it is already being applied in workforce innovations.
Blockchain as the Key to a Global Workforce Revolution
Blockchain, despite its burgeoning popularity, still maintains a shroud of mystery for much of the world. Outside experts and enthusiasts, few are likely aware of what blockchain technology is and does beyond the basics. The truth is, this technology and means of decentralised data storage and communication represent easier, safer, and automated processes for much of what now complicates changing workforces. But how does decentralized data affect remote work?
4 in 10 New Zealanders began working from home when the lockdowns started. Now, it looks like this shift is sticking around. As workers all over the world work more and more from their homes and home countries, reliance on decentralised payroll and data systems will be more necessary than ever. Through functions like these, blockchains can support workforces to streamline the efficiency and satisfaction of companies and their workers.
Blockchain at Work
Blockchain at work has potential in virtually every industry and department. With a growing need to operate additional systems over secure networks rather than in a single office building, blockchain can offer solutions in terms of validating and recruiting the right employees, ensuring timely payment methods, and transforming the way benefits are transmitted between employers and employees.
Blockchain applications in the workforce have the power to transform all kinds of business processes for efficiency benefits. Here are some examples.
In Recruiting and Hiring
With more people working remotely, the resume pool has been blown wide open. Now, many companies, free from geographical limitations, can expand their candidate search to all parts of the globe. With the increased ability to find and connect all kinds of employers and employees, however, comes a heavier burden on recruiting and HR departments as they attempt to navigate and verify vast swathes of candidate resumes.
This is where blockchain comes in. Several tech companies provide access to a blockchain system for decentralised data exchange of professional profiles and credentials. These companies make use of the secure, open nature of a blockchain network to verify professional identifying factors and achievements. As a result, recruiters can ensure that they are getting accurate candidate information while keeping personal and private data safe.
Blockchain technology stands to improve the quality of hiring and recruiting by streamlining the way candidate data is handled. Too often, applicant information is relegated to cumbersome methods of data storage and document overflow. This blockchain application ensures that individuals maintain unique and private ownership of their personal info even as they share that information with prospective employers.
Distributed ledger technology means that from here, employers can build better methods of communicating with and even paying their workers.
The tech company example above demonstrates the potential of blockchain and virtual currency in the payroll process. With the decentralised capabilities of a blockchain system, global trade and employment are easier and cheaper than ever before. These benefits are only the beginning, however. The future of work will likely be revolutionised by the blockchain payroll process. Here's how.
In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and companies across the world struggled to quickly and efficiently send out due payments and relief funds to relevant parties. With a blockchain wallet system on a public or private blockchain, these payments can be made and managed with exceptional ease. In turn, transaction fees and bank delays can be avoided more often than not.
Stablecoins are an excellent method of coordinating these blockchain payments for greater efficiency and security. Tied to fiat currencies and gold, these cryptocurrencies have already been employed by Walmart and other global shipping companies to improve the way employees are paid. In dealing with overseas shipping especially, these decentralised payment systems offer greater transparency and immediacy for the workers travelling internationally and sending money back to their families.
As the future of work becomes increasingly global, cheap and accessible payment methods like stablecoins will only become more popular. This has the potential to improve the ways employees interact with not only their paychecks but their benefits as well.
From HR to escrow, blockchain services are making work services simpler and more efficient than ever before. This stands to improve the quality of benefits for employees as well as for the companies they work for. One way this is achieved is through the use of smart contacts to add security and transparency to benefit provisions.
Smart contracts are self-enforcing agreements built into a blockchain platform. These features allow for convenient, binding digital contracts without the need for traditional signatures and paperwork. Because they are coded, fulfilling the contract on one end automatically results in the fulfilment of the agreement on the other end. This means greater transparency, lower transaction costs and maintenance, and heightened information security.
For employee benefits, smart contracts give better guarantees of access to promised perks. For example, benefits like health insurance or escrow services set to begin at a specific time after employment can be automated to kick in as soon as an employee reaches the set date. This level of automation can reduce the risk of problematic errors while decreasing the workload for HR departments. The fact that it is all done through a public distributed ledger, meaning that the transaction records are available to all, makes blockchain implementation even more desirable.
With the integration of smart contracts through blockchain technology, machine efficiency can be brought to all kinds of important employee processes. Imagine not having to keep reminding your boss about a promised raise because it immediately kicked in via your smart contract. These benefits will prove valuable, especially as the workforce continues to change and grow.
Shifting Workforce Needs and Blockchain
Very little about the future workforce will be familiar in the decades to come. Already, we have seen massive shifts towards new normals in workplace and employee structures, with more people working from home and across international lines than ever before. Amidst all these changes, new systems will be required to manage secure networks of employees with the ability to scale with a business.
Blockchain adoption can offer fluid and internet-safe methods of doing just that. This is essential in the modern era of digital business, in which cybersecurity threats are a significant and costly risk for all. In fact, 71% of organisations surveyed across the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand report being very concerned about the risk of security breaches with the increase in remote work.
Combatting these concerns requires both the platforms and the agile leadership skills necessary to adapt. Agile leadership in the face of changing workplace norms means a readiness to innovate and co-create knowledge. Little can support such a strategy like blockchain, which gives all users access to the same immutable information, provided they have the proper authorisation.
One helpful comparison is to think of public blockchain like using Google Docs. With Google Docs, every user with the proper authorisation has access to the same version of a document. Similarly, blockchains offer access to smart contracts and stored information for all authorized users. This ensures that every member of your organisation remains on the same page while adding massive potential for automation. In a complex global and virtual environment, future workforces will need this tool to maintain efficient functionality.
A future of blockchain systems at work is a future that works.
A Future that Works
With the potential to streamline and redefine all our data communication processes for the remote working world, blockchain is experiencing a boost in business interest. Increasingly, business executives are seeing the potential of blockchain to revolutionise work processes for the good of everyone involved. From recruiting to employee benefits, information is simply more secure and more accessible over blockchain.
With blockchain data, our remotely working world can better address the changing needs and challenges of conducting global ventures. In your own business endeavours, explore how blockchain can help automate and secure processes. Then integrate this technology effectively to reap all the associated rewards.
About the author:
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology topics are his favourite. When he isn't writing you can find him travelling, hiking, or gaming. You can follow him on Twitter.
The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. Do not take this as personalised financial advice or investment advice. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinion of BitPrime.