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How COVID-19 and remote work will influence unified communications and collaboration
451 Research article, Analysts, Titled How COVID-19 and remote work will influence unified communication and collaboration– Published Friday, August 7, 2020 by Raul Castanon-Martinez shows the current trends and forecast in 3 significant areas.
- Organization are spending more on communication and collaboration.
- Work-from-Home is here to stay.
- The office environment will see a reduced footprint.
“The survey outlined below shows that remote work will continue to be relevant for a substantial number of employees. Furthermore, even as businesses reopen, social distancing will be a key factor in the post COVID-19 workplace. These factors will influence market requirements for communications and collaboration technologies, with organizations looking to support remote workers in the long term.”
Organizations are spending more on communication and collaboration, information security tools
The sudden need to support employees working from home during the COVID-19 quarantine led to an increase in technology product/service spending, with employee communication and collaboration technologies and information security tools emerging as two key areas in both our March and June surveys. Survey results show that, in many categories, nearly half of respondents indicate an outbreak-motivated spending change, with some such as IT resources and information security leaning distinctly toward spending increases. More specifically, survey results show that organizations are spending more on communication and collaboration technologies (50%), employee devices and services (43%), information security tools (42%), and network capacity (38%), as shown in Figure 1.
Work-from-home is here to stay
The shift in IT budget allocation to support WFH scenarios reflects how organizations responded to the outbreak in the early days of the quarantine. Among policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak, expanded or universal WFH policies were implemented broadly and quickly by a large majority of organizations. However, our VotE: Coronavirus Flash Survey June 2020 shows that remote work will continue to be relevant for a substantial number of organizations and employees.
By the time our June Flash Survey fielded, most organizations expected those expanded WFH policies to remain in place long-term or permanently. Survey results show that, of those organizations that had expanded WFH policies in response to the outbreak, two out of three (67%) expected them to remain in place long-term or permanently. This is a significant increase from the 38% that expressed this expectation in March, as shown in Figure 2.
The office environment will see a reduced footprint
Several factors are leading organizations to consider plans to reopen their offices. These include the relative success of WFH efforts, which – as previously noted – will continue to be relevant for a substantial number of organizations and employees. Other factors include the difficulties presented by the prospect of returning to work in physical office environments, namely the conflict between proximity and employee safety.
Survey results show that one-quarter of organizations (25%) plan to wait a month or more beyond when regulations allow before employees return to offices. Furthermore, a significant portion of organizations are expecting to reduce their office footprint. As shown in Figure 3, 47% of organizations with office space say they expect to reduce their physical office footprint as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, with over 20% expecting to reduce it by more than 25%. Our VotE: Coronavirus Flash Survey June 2020 shows that office reductions are most common at the largest firms, with 60% of companies with more than $10bn in revenue looking to reduce their office footprint.