It’s the big question facing most organizations. Will 2021 herald a mass return to the office, or is remote work here to stay?
Today, your company may be trying to devise its “new normal” – weighing up where to base employees, and whether to downscale office floor space and invest in new digital tools and tech.
It’s important to remember that change is not the enemy of the corporate workplace – in fact, it’s inevitable.
Once there were rigid walls and cubicles. Now we have open-plan layouts, shared chillout zones and hot desks. Computers have replaced pens and paper; mobiles have triumphed over desk phones. And superfast internet has unleashed new ways to collaborate and communicate, like email, chat and video.
In short, the importance of being physically present at work was waning before the pandemic hit. It’s just that COVID-19 has forced a rapid acceleration of this trend. Employers that once allowed workers one or two days at home have now adjusted to five. And video conferencing capability once viewed as “nice to have” has become necessary virtually overnight.
In 2021, a “hybrid” of the physical and digital workplace is inevitable. While in some parts of the world, some people are returning to the office, the virus is mutating and unpredictable. There are uncertainties over the vaccine rollout; sporadic breakouts could lead to new restrictions on people’s movement.
More fundamentally, the pandemic appears to have delivered a lasting cultural shift. Employees who have come to enjoy the flexibility may well in future demand it. And with fewer workers tethered to their desks, there is evidence that more are relocating from big cities to outer suburbs and regional areas on lifestyle grounds.
2021 and Beyond: Remote Work Video Conferencing
Here at Pexip, the research we’ve conducted with Frost & Sullivan backs this up. We forecast that the number of remote workers is likely to reach 30% of the global office worker population, a six-fold increase since before the pandemic.
Over the next five years, the popularity of video conferencing will soar to account for 62% of all non in-person meetings, compared to 10% pre-COVID.
It seems clear. Work from home and work on the go will reshape the office long after the pandemic is over. What does this new normal mean for you?
Download ‘Empowering the modern workplace through enhanced video collaboration experiences,’ a Frost & Sullivan report in collaboration with Pexip.