To read The Road to Recovery Part 1, click here.
Recovery: it’s just over the horizon.
We don’t have an end date, but the COVID-19 pandemic will subside. When recovery begins, workers will emerge from their homes and head straight to the hairdresser. After a quick cut and colour, a new wave of challenges will be upon us as organisations act to merge the new work from home activities with the traditional office environment, and support a business culture that has been irretrievably changed.
While not everyone will return to the office full time, (honestly, who would?), the new video-centric culture will see rapid demand for video-equipped spaces– everything from small huddle spaces to large meeting rooms. Staff who have become accustomed to rich media experiences from platforms like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex will be unwilling to return to the pre-COVID-19 era of low-def voice calls. Ultimately, meeting rooms will need to be better equipped to meet the new cultural expectations and ensure office-based staff don’t become the ‘poor relations’ to their mobile workmates.
These same new cloud services that we’re already coming to depend on for collaboration will create congestion on traditional office networks – impacting both moral and workforce productivity. Technical teams will need to gain greater visibility into cloud application traffic flows and look to SD-WAN technology for better connectivity into hyper-scale clouds, such as Microsoft Azure. By thinking ahead, we open opportunities to accelerate business efficiency and come out firing as we find our feet in the ‘new normal’. Of course the saving grace may be that if the office network is overwhelmed, people can simply go work from home!
I believe that once the dust has settled and humanity is through this horrific ordeal, we’ll emerge with a new, stronger, and more resilient culture. One that has not only learned to understand exponential mathematics and the value of social distancing, but has also embraced new ways of working and connecting with one another across large distances.
Beyond our own offices, sales teams will find clients more receptive to video meetings in place of inefficient travel, and subject matter experts (on every topic) will be more available when engaged remotely. We’re already seeing entire industries reinvent themselves, from schools to personal trainers, and it’s only going to accelerate over the next few months. This new culture, equipped with rich media services and acceptance of working from home will also open opportunity to attract the best staff from anywhere. As the expectations of in-person meetings fade into the history books, companies will look to gain a competitive advantage by hiring the best talent, regardless of the city, or even country town, that they may reside in.
Harnessing this era of innovation will be tough, but full of exciting challenges for technology professionals. Much of the business environment will be reviewed and reconsidered, with technology a significant player in finding ways to adapt in the shadow of COVID-19.
Fortunately for many, technology has never stood still, and technologists are accustomed to embracing change. For those of you working hard to keep your company operating, don’t forget to take the occasional breather and give your fellow team members a virtual high five – we all have a lot to do, and you’re not in this alone. I’m only a message away.