This excerpt originally appeared on SiliconANGLE. Click here to read the full article.
By Paul Gillin
April 10, 2020
What the future holds
One of the few silver linings in a crisis like this is that it forces people to plan ahead for the next big disruption. “This busts up norms,” said Gartner’s Lowery. “It’s a good time to make changes stick.”
Among the changes to business and the workplace that futurists expect are a renewed focus on business and supply chain resilience, greater receptivity to remote work arrangements and a more vigorous embrace of cloud-based collaboration technology such as videoconferencing.
Many businesses are discovering that home-based workers spend more time on the job and get more done than those who spend an hour or two in rush hour traffic every day. NordVPN, a VPN service unit of Tefincom S.A. reported that people using its service from home worked on average of two hours longer per day than at the office. For U.S. workers, the average increase was three hours.
Flexible arrangements are becoming even more important as a younger generation enters the workplace. A survey by collaboration platform Wrike Inc. found that millennials are 44% more likely than baby boomers to say that they could do their job just as effectively from home as in the office.
“Folks are settling in, adjusting and getting in a rhythm and are able to be pretty darn productive working from home, in some cases even more than we previously saw with lengthy job commutes,” said Bill Miller, CIO of storage software provider NetApp Inc.
Although hard times are ahead economically, many experts expect companies that have a large part of their computing infrastructure already in the cloud will bounce back more quickly than others. Those that survive the pandemic will ramp up their migration plans more aggressively and, in the process, improve the agility and resiliency of their organizations. “Business needs elastic expansion capabilities, and this crisis has brought that to the forefront,” said Chad Hodges, executive vice president of MSP Enterprise Networking Solutions Inc.
The greatest lesson of the pandemic, however, may be that shared human experiences are more important than partisan political bickering. Even while hunkered down in their homes, people have used cloud technology to invent clever ways to connect, ranging from virtual cocktail parties to yoga sessions. At the end of the day, said IBM’s Previn, “the biggest challenges have been making sure our 350,000 people know that we stand united.”
By forcing us apart, the coronavirus may paradoxically have the effect of bringing us closer together. That would be the brightest silver lining of all.