Although the immediate health crisis will pass, the imprint on our workplaces may be indelible. Recent surveys by industry analyst firms highlight this impact. For example, IDC uncovered a significant increase in Collaboration technology investments (68% of respondents*), with the observation “the main tool of internal and external collaboration, many companies foresee increased spending on unified communication and collaboration technologies.” And, most of that consumption is now coming from the Cloud.
IDC also found positive repercussions from the crisis on workplace response – to quote: “COVID-19 is forcing companies to facilitate ‘smart working’ … this will be beneficial for companies embracing the Future of Work model.” 89% of respondents* said quickly adapting to remote working was the biggest longer-term positive impact on their organization.
Meanwhile, analyst firm Nemertes recently found that up to 70% of organizations** intend to continue remote working for both white-collar knowledge workers and/or contact center agents going forward. This may not imply a completely remote workforce, but in any case, this crisis has clearly become a turning point for the mainstream adoption of remote and home-based working around the world.
Some observers have dubbed this post-pandemic impact on the workplace as “digital by default”, meaning that employee and customer experiences and processes will be fundamentally re-defined. Of course, this has been part of a larger ongoing trend toward digital transformation, but now the digital experience seems to be dominating the planning discussion.
The Post-COVID Workplace Impacts
All of this has wide-reaching implications for the way we work. We expect continued restrictions on travel, mobility, and proximity. Remote, distributed and home-based work has become normalized. Agility, rapid decision-making, contingency planning is mandatory for every organization, public or private sector. And, employee and customer experiences are increasingly digital and virtual.
In the coming days and weeks, we will break down these trends and how each of them will change the way we think about our work, our technologies, and our experiences. In the meantime, here are some broader planning considerations to bring into your organization’s conversations:
1) Do you have the right collaboration tools to enable your workforce for the longer term?
2) Can your customers reach and interact with you easily via digital channels?
3) Have you fully considered the role of the Cloud in your infrastructure?
4) Are the right cybersecurity and data protection measures in place for this new world?
5) How can artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation help you transition to post-COVID?
* IDC Impact of COVID-19 on the European IT Market, March 2020
** Nemertes Covid-19 Pandemic: Impact on Virtual Workplace, April 2020
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