Thanks to the evolution of smart mobile devices, cloud computing, and faster home internet connections, remote work increased by 400 percent in the 2010’s.  In the face of COVID-19 related shutdowns, remote work trends are accelerating. For many businesses, this can be practically all of their staff who commuted to work prior to the pandemic.

Research indicates that many employees who continue to work after pandemic guidelines are eased will not return to the office and will remain in the remote workforce.

With so many transitioning to remote work, companies will need to make technology changes to empower collaboration, security, and productivity for their workforce – immediately and from any location over any device.

Without a doubt, conference rooms and collaboration spaces will be the nucleus of communications for the post-COVID office.  With the anticipated permanent increase in the remote workforce, what will the face of these spaces look like?

The answer – Collaboration spaces in the 2020’s will enable end users to seamlessly initiate and participate in the collaborative process – from both the corporate office and remote locations.  Simple, intuitive interfaces with controls for audio and video conferencing, presentation sharing, and environmental controls will instantly engage knowledge workers and allow them to meet and share on a scheduled or ad-hoc basis.  Remote workers and customers will join via integrated collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, at the click of a mouse.

We’ve identified 5 drivers that will facilitate the post-COVID collaborative work environment:

Remote workers can be productive –  Research indicates that many more will work from home even after the “all clear” signal is given to return to the office.  Since the pandemic related workplace shutdowns, awareness about remote worker productivity has substantially increased among managers.

Video collaboration is the new “face-to-face” –  Video conferencing apps such as Microsoft Teams have become proven vehicles to help your employees maintain the personal touch with customers and co-workers.

Collaboration is King –  Collaboration suites allow people to work together in real-time, present ideas, and share information via video and chat.  Solutions such as Microsoft Teams and OneDrive are excelling under the sudden high demand for secure and productive remote work.

Secure remote access – Enhancements to remote access technologies have made corporate networks safer from threats that used to be introduced via personal devices.  Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) protects against unauthorized logins from unscrupulous actors.  Network administrators can run “pre-checks” to make sure that personal equipment meets certain security requirements.  They can also regulate screen timeouts, protect against malware, and bar access to unencrypted mobile devices.

Streaming apps:  Streaming apps are virtualized applications which run from the protected corporate datacenter rather than on local machines.  This technology gives remote workers access to only the applications they need to perform their job functions.  Workers can access these applications through a multi-factor login without connecting to the entire corporate network via a VPN.  This keeps shared network drives safe from cyber-criminal acts such as crypto locker attacks.

If you would like more information on technologies that will shape the post-COVID work environment, please contact us.