New research from Verizon examines the impact of COVID-19 on the digital workplace and how technology will enable new ways of working.
The report titled Verizon Business, “Recreating Work as a Blend of Virtual and Physical Experiences, “examines the impact of the recent rise in remote working and discusses key areas business leaders should focus on as they help their organization adapt to new ways of working moving forward.
The report, carried out in conjunction with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, is based on feedback from 1,080 global business leaders, and was conducted in May 2020.
“The global pandemic accelerated this move to a digital working environment and business leaders need to use the lessons of the present to future-ready their organizations,” comments Sampath Sowmyanarayan, President of Global Enterprise, Verizon Business.
Key findings include:
- 86 % of global companies believe the digital workplace will coexist with the physical workspace post COVID-19
- 78 % expect to increase remote working
- 41% expect to implement 5G within two years
- 35 % see security as a potential barrier to digital work
61% of business leaders reported that the quality of remote work was on par as that conducted in the physical workplace. The benefits of remote working also shone through, with 52% experiencing improved collaboration; 57% seeing a boost in business agility and nearly half witnessing an increase in productivity (44%).
Many businesses benefited from the use of collaboration technologies to maintain productivity with videoconferencing topping the list (98%) with other tools such as file sharing (97%), instant messaging/chat (95%), other collaboration methods (e.g., Slack or Teams – 88%) and cloud-based collaboration (85%) all also being referenced. 85% saw the use of online interactive training to keep employees engaged in their own personal development.
Using technology to enable a difference
The report also highlights that businesses that have a digital workplace strategy are consistently more likely to see greater returns from their investments than those that don’t.
52% saw increased productivity being digital. The use of technology is a key differentiator in this strategy of remote working.
The potential of 5G technology was seen as going beyond basic operational improvements to provide more transformative changes, 20% of respondents saying that it will enable them to do work they have never been able to do before.
28% believe it will enable new business models to be explored, adding more value to their business proposition. 41% of those surveyed expected 5G to become a reality for their own organization within two years, opening the door to applications that employ higher-quality/lower-latency video and augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR).
Not surprisingly, security was flagged as a potential barrier which may slow digital work momentum (35%). However, 86% of respondents stated the importance of addressing data security to get the most value from their digital investments in the future.
Three key focus areas for maximizing digital work strategies in the future:
- Working smarter: COVID-19 has forced widespread use of video and web conferencing.
- Prioritizing simplicity and integration: A single, app-like experience across the tools they use every day saw the focus growing.
- Keep security top of mind: Potential security gaps exist on employee PCs, devices, home networks, and apps, representing a growing threat with the shift to remote work. Companies considered implementing end-user security awareness training, acceptable use policies that mitigate user exposure to threats including two-factor authentication.
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