As states begin to loosen lockdown restrictions, companies are planning their next moves as well.
There will surely be some decisions for executives to make as we move forward. Do they even need a large office space anymore? If yes. How will they incorporate social distancing protocols into the physical workplace?
Workers, particularly those in large metro cities, may not be comfortable commuting through public transportation. How will they handle those scenarios? What about hiring? If remote work is the future, employers are no longer limited to a localized pool of talent.
Lastly, for large enterprises, how will these shifts impact unified communications and collaboration? There’s no definite answer right now, but in this article we attempt to answer some of these questions based on what we expect to occur.
Permanent Remote Work Shift
We’re already seeing large companies such as Nationwide announce office closures and permanent remote work shifts. Nationwide CEO, Kirt Walker, says they’re planning for a 98% work-from-home model, made possible due to their technological investments.
We expect this trend to continue, not just for insurance companies, but any large enterprises. For those who have leases up during the pandemic, they may opt to simply not renew them. Though we expect many to still have larger regional hubs or headquarters, the days of smaller satellite locations are perhaps numbered.
For those who do opt to maintain physical office spaces, they’ll have to undergo a serious overhaul. For starters, office design and layouts will be impacted. Open layouts that have become very popular in recent years might become a thing of the past. Workstations will likely be separated by six-feet, and we may go back to the days of cubicles.
Cleaning protocols and procedures will also require changes. There will be more signs and signals for best practices, such as keeping social-distance, one-way travel, washing hands frequently, avoiding handshakes, etc. Automated and touchless equipment might also see a spike.
Public Transport & Commuting
Many workers still may not feel comfortable going into an office even after restrictions have been lifted and we start getting closer to a new normal again. Companies will have to be accommodating as this is likely to impact many, and they do not want to alienate or single anyone out.
For those who live in large cities, it may be a while before they are comfortable using public transportation such as buses and trains. There also might be less spent on flights for corporate travel since meetings can be conducted remotely and virtually.
Events such as large conferences and conventions may take a hit due to these shifts, at least in the immediate future.
New Hiring Practices
Expect hiring to change significantly following the pandemic. With less geographic limitations and less on-site locations, it would be easier for a corporation in say New York to hire a full-time remote worker in California.
Yes, time difference is still a factor, but we’ve also seen the traditional 9-5 is becoming a thing of the past, as many have had to balance other responsibilities such as parenting during the workday. Rather than travel stipends, many companies may replace them with home office equipment and technology stipends.
Teams that stuck together and supported each other during these difficult times may experience closer bonds as well as connections to their employers. Being able to communicate and see each other in what was previously the privacy of their homes is also a contributing factor here. On the flip side, those who had negative experiences with their employer may look elsewhere for work after all is said and done.
It’s also worth noting that for those who have transitioned into remote work, 60% report improved mental health, and the majority have expressed positive overall results. This may be due to the flexibility as stated above, increased productivity with less distractions, along with the ability to be closer to their families and loved ones.
In-Office vs. Remote UCC
Whether a company shifts to remote work permanently, or continues to maintain an in-office presence, unified communication and collaboration will still be essential to keep the business functioning.
That said, for those who do shift to mostly remote setups would benefit most from UCC as it would allow them to cut overhead costs by investing in monitoring and testing solutions instead of office space. For those operating contact centers, they may consider IVR testing as part of their long-term plans.
We also expect to see a spike in cloud-based solutions and overall emergency preparedness. These advancements will help finance teams analyze infrastructure, expenses, employee utilization rates and ultimately help improve customer service.
Whatever the future looks like for your workplace, Nectar can be there to help guide you in making the right decisions based on data. Request a demo to learn more about our latest services, products and solutions.