What to expect in the workplace after the pandemic

Posted by Lee-Anne A. Coleman, JEI TECH 18-03-2021 03:23 PM

With people working from home, there is speculation as to where the modern business is headed in terms of remote, on-premise and hybrid staff. 

According to the New York Times and Morning Consult, “In a survey of 1,123 remote workers… 86% said they were satisfied with the current arrangements — even when that sometimes meant working from their bedrooms or closets.” Furthermore 47% reported they were “very satisfied with the current arrangements.” This isn’t a surprise because of the obvious increases in freedom, flexibility, and productivity spikes which are all natural byproducts of WFH. Many business owners are still asking themselves questions like, “How do I effectively manage my team? How do I keep our network secure with everyone working-from-home? Which portion of my workers will need to remain in-person vs. remote? How do we foster collaboration and strengthen the company culture?”

While the answers to those questions are still moving targets, the pandemic is forcing companies to make these decisions before their lease renews. Unfortunately, due to health concerns, the ’open floorplan’ concept is no longer going to be an option for most companies, as a result of this, we’ll see two major movements. First, some businesses will opt to downsize their office space and to reallocate their reduction in cost to strengthen their IT infrastructure as they fully transition to a remote workforce. For companies reinvesting in commercial real estate, their space demands will grow dramatically, because of the social distancing recommendations.

Some workers will return to “50/50” offices, where they’re in-the-office for 3 days, but out for 2 days, or any variation thereof. WFH could likely expand to 4-5 days per week for most workers.

As WFH grows into the new standard, SMBs need to consider the rigorous demands that will place on IT. Business owners need to understand that if you have 30 employees and one main office, you now need to treat that situation like you have 31 distinct offices.Each one will require a dedicated internet network, firewall, access to private company network and of course, cybersecurity must be thoroughly considered, as well.

While 45% of home networks are already infected with malware, like keyloggers. Historically, IT departments have never tackled the home office before because of its inherent complexity and the multiple users that utilize the network. The network is only as secure as its weakest link, and if someone’s child is playing online video games and exposing the network to potential threats, there’s a question of where to draw the line, when it could affect your company network?

Businesses should be consulting with their IT Support to create a transition plan to whichever version of WFH suits them, which enables their employees to be just as productive at home.

Lee-Anne A. Coleman, JEI TECH.