While working to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, in the spirit of optimism we are also looking past it. We’re assessing the question of where will people and companies be working, post virus.
If you live in a major urban centre like I do, the downtown core has experienced non-stop construction. Cranes punctuate the horizon, office towers and residences climb to new heights.
But as a business provider of Work From Home (WFH) technologies to help clients implement cloud and remote working, I have been amazed at how rapidly services such as Microsoft Teams, Hosted Servers, OneDrive, Remote Desktops, VPNs, Zoom, Skype and Dropbox (to name a few) have advanced in ease of use, declined in cost, and scaled in functionality. And many have obviously been of enormous help as society requires physical distance, yet social connection.
Recognizing these realities, we’re trying to reconcile these opposing actions; the addition of vast amounts of office space in downtown cores, with the parallel development of exceptional tools that promote work from home.
So, let’s discuss. For those clients we have assisted in adopting WFH productivity tools, we have asked them to identify their goals. Their answers have fallen into three categories.
- to simplify and reduce dependence on maintaining complex systems at their offices
- to be able to work securely and productively, while traveling or from the home or cottage
- as part of a disaster recovery strategy in the event of catastrophes such as fire or flood
Most of our clients had already started down the “remote operating path” at the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, while some were advanced devotees. But none expected the need for what evolved in a just a few short days in early March. Governments, businesses and individuals around the world were caught off guard simultaneously.
Throughout this crisis, we have continued to assist clients in adopting WFH remote computing and will do so through to brighter days ahead. Along the way, we’ve heard various viewpoints.
Some organizations have indicated they are—and always will be—committed to working at the office in groups and will return. Others have said they may take a smaller footprint upon lease renewal, while others have said they might experiment with shared facilities. Similarly, individuals have shared a range of views. Some (particularly those with small children at home) can’t wait to get back to the peace and order of an office, while others have said that efficient collaborative technologies, coupled with saving time and commuting have caused them to rethink.
When the new normal arrives and the “all clear” sounds, what will your preferences be when it comes to work from home? What will your company’s preferences be? Please let us know.