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Who could have imagined that life would change so dramatically in such a short space of time? I still recall watching the Channel 4 news whilst at the gym about this virus in China. Never did I think that it would impact my life in so many ways.
Lockdown, homeschooling, wearing masks, limited or non-existent socialising but the biggest impact has to be in business. With now more 38%* (Guardian) of people working from home the pace of change in technology has been phenomenal.
In a survey they conducted, when respondents were asked why their organisations did not implement these changes before the crisis, just over half say that they were not a top business priority.
Nearly one-third of B2B respondents say that fear of customer resistance to changes was a barrier, but only 24 percent of those in consumer-facing industries say this. After these two challenges, B2B executives most often cite organisational and technology issues: the required changes represented too big a shock to established ways of working, IT infrastructure was insufficient, or organisational silos impeded commitment to and execution of the required changes.
The pace of change has been great but there are still some challenges that organisations and employees face in this new world.
One of the biggest challenges people experienced while working from home was internet performance. 59% of individuals said they had trouble with video and audio calls since March 2020. Internet in homes will improve, drastically and quickly. With many property guides listing type of connectivity on sales literature. Home offices and even home video studios will become a priority. As new homes are built or existing ones are refurbished, WFH considerations will be the top priority for many.
Another major challenge which has come to light is loneliness and isolation, with more and more individuals working from home companies need to rethink how they communicate, provide leadership and motivation to achieve a shared goal.
Cyber security is also a key factor for organisations, the rise in homeworking correlated with an increase in cyber-attacks. 137 coronavirus-related phishing emails were identified in January, 1,188 in February and over 9,000 in March. That equates to a 667 percent increase since the end of February (ITPortal). Organisations must re-evaluate the way they approach security and have a clear approach to homeworking.
We will see a continued drive for people to work from home, even though we now have a vaccine the logistics of vaccinating a large proportion of the population is going to take time. Furthermore, the majority of people have found the work-life balance to be enhanced by working at home full time or part-time.
With the increase in cyber-attacks during the pandemic we predict that many organisations will look at AI and Machine Learning algorithms to help secure their organisations. Given that cyber criminals are starting to leverage the same technology to make their attacks more likely to land, this seems like a good idea.
As-a-service” – the provision of services that we need to live and work through cloud-based, on-demand platforms – is the key that has put the other tech trends we talk about today in reach of anybody. It is the reason why AI and robotics are a possibility for just about any business or organisation, regardless of their size or budget.
Faster and more reliable internet does not just mean we can load webpages more quickly and spend less time waiting for videos to launch on Youtube. Each successive advance in mobile connectivity from 3G onwards has unlocked new use cases for the internet. 3G made web browsing and data-driven services useful on mobile devices, 4G led to the growth of streaming video and music platforms as bandwidths increased, and 5G, likewise, will open more doors in terms of what is possible.