25th May, 2020

One of the lasting impacts of COVID-19 is how many organisations are now managing a remote workforce. In our previous blog posts, we’ve explored how businesses can support their employees during this home working period, and how digital service providers are adapting to new levels of traffic. But as lockdown restrictions are relaxed, employees will need to start returning to their offices—and the transition might bring some unexpected challenges.

Fortunately, unlike the shift to remote working, there’s time to prepare. That’s why we’ve gathered a few key points on what we think the new normal will look like, what measures you should take to ensure a smooth transition, and how we can help.

A more flexible way of working

Supporting a remote workforce has been a huge challenge shared by businesses across the world—but luckily, their efforts won’t be wasted when working life returns to normal.

It’s likely many businesses will continue to support remote working in the future, as it offers employees a convenient way of working around their everyday lives and removes the need for large office spaces. A recent report from Gartner revealed that 74% of CFO’s surveyed intend to shift some employees to remote working permanently.

As many organisations have successfully supported remote workers since lockdown restrictions began, they’ll be well-equipped to support this trend already. And most of the technologies adopted during this period will still be valuable for those that do return to work.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen a lot of businesses purchase VPN licenses to offer their employees secure web connections to on-premises infrastructure, apps and data. As more employees choose to work from home in the future, these VPN licenses will continue offering an easy, secure way for remote workers to access the tools they need.

Similarly, we’ve seen more businesses adopting collaboration tools to give employees access to their business phone number wherever they are. With this new convenience, employees are more available to customers, and they’re no longer restricted to their desk setup. We expect businesses will want to continue relying on this convenience, even when their teams are mostly back in the office.

A cloud-based future of working

This remote working period has forced many businesses to adopt cloud-based working in one way or another—whether it’s using cloud storage for shared files or working on cloud-based apps. In fact, Microsoft alone saw a 775% increase in cloud usage just weeks into the remote working period.

With long periods of working from home, it’s inevitable that files are scattered across different locations. That’s why so many businesses have adopted endpoint management and cloud backup solutions to improve visibility and data protection. And if the remote working trend continues when working life goes back to normal, these tools will continue to be critical to keeping businesses safe.

Our advice for returning to the office

Going from business as normal to the ‘new normal’ of COVID-19 has presented a sharp learning curve for many. Returning to the office will be just as big transition, so it’s critical you’re ready to support your employees.

One prediction we’d make is that while employees will no longer be using their personal connections so much in lockdown, the mix of office and home workers will still put more pressure on your network and infrastructure than you may have been used to before COVID-19. Plus, if you’ve adopted cloud-based services during the remote working period, you’ll need to ensure your bandwidth can support them. We’d recommend ensuring your office infrastructure is able to support the new levels of bandwidth usage.

And it’s not just your network you need to think about. You’ll need to ensure all endpoints in your office are working correctly, and solve any issues as they arise. Otherwise, you may find yourself facing unexpected disruption when your employees return to the office.

We’re here to help you

We’ve talked about just a few considerations for returning to “normal” working conditions. But every business will have their own requirements and things to look out for post-lockdown. Whatever your requirements, our team is on-hand to help.

Our experts are there to assess your requirements, monitor individual endpoints across your business, and support your infrastructure and employees as the situation changes.

If you need support planning a seamless transition back to the office, please get in touch and we’ll do everything we can to help.