To say the pandemic caused seismic global shifts would be the understatement of the year. Entire populations were mandated to shelter in place, friends and neighbors stayed six feet apart, and economies nearly ground to a halt.
Despite ubiquitous adversity, industry leaders tapped IT innovators to adapt and overcome. As the world makes the steady transition to so-called “normalcy,” there’s a pronounced suspicion that things may never truly be the same. Based on the ways thought leaders pivoted and the outcomes they achieved during the peak of the health crisis, these are four bold predictions about doing business after COVID-19.
Eric Weast, a Fort Lauderdale IT services professional with ECW shares his insights into the changing landscape after COVID-19.
1: Remote Workforces Are Here To Stay
This prediction may not seem “bold” on its face. But the reasoning behind this permanent condition may raise more than a few eyebrows.
Many CFOs are considering maintaining some percentage of work-from-home employees and infrastructure. Their decisions are largely based on issues such as recovering losses suffered during the downturn or reducing capital expenditures, among others. But a recent Gallup report indicates there are other pressing reasons. These include the following:
Of employees polled who spend 60-80 percent of their workweek away from the office agree they enjoy the improved engagement.
- Work-from-anywhere employees also say the less time they spend in the office, the better their productivity
- Remote workers indicate that ongoing manager feedback increases their engagement
- Manager feedback requires a minimal effort of only a few times monthly
- Upwards of 27 percent of work-from-home employees are more inclined to agree they have the materials and support to succeed versus in-house staff
Flexible workspaces are not just going to persist because they are cost-effective. They will become part of the business fabric because they are simply better.
2: Companies Will Pay A Premium For Remote Workers
It seems almost counterintuitive to consider that a company would put more money in someone’s paycheck who doesn’t even clock-in. Compounding that head-scratching idea, telecommuters reportedly save about $4,000 by working from home. So why double-down and pay more?
The not-so-conventional wisdom is that HR departments will soon be able to tap into talent pools well beyond commuter boundaries. Companies will soon find themselves competing over experienced, self-motivated people. Like freight companies that pay truckers bonuses during driver shortages, remote workers are likely to see a “stipend” to offset their home technology costs. It’s a way of showing appreciation, as well as a talent-retention strategy.
3: Corporate Headquarters Will Shrink & Fade Away
Recent Gartner surveys indicate that CFOs are looking to offset losses sustained during the pandemic by reducing real estate expenses, among others. The conventional wisdom is that less space will be needed due to continued work-from-home policies. But take that reasoning to its logical end, and where does it lead you? The answer is a systematic reduction in the need for a physical footprint.
The notion of virtual businesses is nothing new. But after the pandemic subsides, expect larger companies that were wedded to fixed headquarters and outposts to shrink. Many will simply scroll their footprint back to glorified conference rooms. Don’t be surprised if per diem space rentals replace traditional business headquarters and managed IT infrastructures are the new brick and mortar.
4: The Corporate Pace Will Increase
One might think that telecommuting in your pajamas might slow the corporate pace. Nothing could be further from the truth. Wireless connectivity and platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and a wealth of others, put colleagues within two feet of each other 24-7. That’s typically the distance from eyeballs to laptop screens. Technology may place employees at home, but they are always on call.
That being said, Cloud-based platforms also allow high-level business leaders to conduct real-time task oversight with a mouse click or screen tap. The need for middle management, go-betweens, and tedious bureaucracies will go the way of the dinosaur. Couple that with automation advancements, improved engagement, and don’t be surprised when things move along at a faster clip.
Although our live-work experience and future may seem uncertain, valuable lessons have been learned about efficiency, productivity, profitability, and agility. A new and improved business landscape will rise like a phoenix out of the COVID-19 disruption.
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