The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted society in countless ways, changing the way we live, interact, and work. From an IT perspective, we’ve already seen massive shifts in how people conduct business and communicate. Some of these shifts will continue in a post-pandemic world.
But the one thing every pandemic has in common? Eventually, they all end. We may not be sure of when and what the landscape will look like when it does, but it won’t go on forever. The question then becomes: how will this pandemic change IT? What changes will remain in place once we move on? Which of these changes will lead to more permanent transformations in the way we engage with IT?
Let’s take a closer look at how this pandemic has changed IT – for good – in the future going forward.
More Meetings Are Held via Video Conference
Video conferencing has gone from being a luxury to a necessity. Stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders have made it the only way for most companies to hold strategic meetings. Zoom has replaced the conference room for most companies. While every meeting may not be a video conference in the future, their prominence in the workplace is most definitely here to stay.
In the short-term: as stay-at-home orders are relaxed and businesses are gradually re-opened, video conferences will still play an important role. Many people will be hesitant to go back into an office if they can help it. There will be a settling-in period where people may not be as quick to travel as they had been in the past. That means that while in-person meetings may slowly become more accepted again, video conferences aren’t going anywhere.
In the long-term: organizations will realize that video conferencing saves them time and money. Rather than send their team members on long trips either in town or out of town, they’ll find that video conferencing enables stronger engagement without the resources spent traveling. They’ll embrace the convenience and efficiency of meeting without having to leave their desks, even in a post-pandemic world.
Remote Work Becomes the New Normal
Prior to the pandemic, remote work was already increasing in popularity. Before the lockdown began, 4.7 million American employees worked from home at least part of the week. Innovation in the IT space has made this possible – email, video conferencing, and cloud software makes it easier than ever for organizations to coordinate, collaborate, and succeed from disparate locations.
The pandemic response has forced just about everyone who can do it to work from home. While this means companies will need to adapt their meeting frequency and style of communication, many are likely finding that their workforce can be just as productive from home as they can in an office. With widespread internet connectivity available, everyone’s home office can work just as effectively as a cubicle. This can help companies save on the overhead costs associated with providing employees with a place to sit. Organizations will still have people on site but expect to see a significant uptick in remote work even after the dust has cleared on the coronavirus response.
Communication Strategies Will Shift to Become More IT-Centric in a Post-Pandemic World
Video conferencing won’t be the only IT platform companies lean into in the coming months and years ahead. Other communication channels such as Slack, Google Suite, and Microsoft Teams will also grow in popularity as more individuals work remotely. That could lead to a demand for training in these types of services – having IT support who can guide an organization through the implementation of these systems.
Every Organization Will Be as Effective as Their IT Support Staff
With an increased reliance on internet connections as well as a desktop and mobile devices, organizations will need to ensure their IT support is capable of handling the growing needs of its staff. That means having IT support that is reliable, flexible, and well-equipped to troubleshoot a whole host of IT issues.
Your team members will become more familiar with the various IT systems and devices they’ll need to stay connected, but issues are almost certain to occur at some point. You’ll also have to implement new systems and have more employees working remotely introduces an added wrinkle to this process. That’s why it’s critical to have IT staff who can be responsive and comprehensive in their support. In the future, it will be all the more important to have guidance to help your team members navigate any IT issues they face – whether they’re working remotely or forced into a telecommuting situation due to another crisis.
Efficiency Is King
The economy has taken a hit recently, and it appears as though these effects may continue even in a post-pandemic world. Organizational budgets will likely be quite lean in many cases, leaving companies to search for ways to cut spending as much as they can. When it comes to IT, that means finding the most efficient while also effective ways to operate is crucial. Having IT support and systems in place that allow your staff to focus on their jobs while helping them work efficiently can boost productivity.
The Path Forward for IT in a Post-Pandemic World
The bottom line is that the pandemic will see organizations have an increased need for IT support and capabilities. The COVID-19 response has forced companies to turn to IT solutions they wouldn’t otherwise be using – or perhaps, not using with the same frequency. When things begin to return to normal, they’ll find that the ways in which these IT systems helped them do business during a crisis are just as useful during a steady state.