How coronavirus may change future working

A few months ago, when the COVID-19 virus was largely limited to China, we wrote an article on how the virus was changing working practices in Hong Kong. A few months later and working from home has become the new normal on a global scale, with companies and employees being forced to rapidly adapt to operating remotely. We questions whether future working will involve more remote work.

Whilst, for many, the laptop and the living room will not be a permanent fixture, many are already claiming that the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the future. Ideas about how we would be working in the future and the virtualisation of workspaces are things that we knew were likely to happen, but nobody could have guessed that it would happen so quickly.

In 2017, it was estimated that half of the UK’s workforce would be working from home by 2020. Remote working has been on the rise in the UK and this ambitious prediction was that many would work from home at least once a week. Fast-forward to 2020 and the situation is drastically futuristic.

Creative destruction: working in the time of coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to simultaneously impact the world, commentators are already speculating on the lasting impacts of the pandemic. Some have claimed that the silver lining to the upheaval caused by the need for social isolation will be our new considerations for how work commutes impact the environment as well as how society relates to things such as homelessness, jails and inequality. Such large and rapid changes would not be a new phenomenon; the 1950’s economist Joseph Schumpeter suggested creative solutions often emerge from the most destructive of situations.

The future is remote

Despite the collective will for things to return to normal, working practices are unlikely to return to how they were before 2020. Many employees are likely to continue to work remotely for months to come as the pandemic is brought under control, and many CEO’s are already adapting to this reality. This giant working experiment will likely inspire a shift to four day week and remote working long after coronavirus, as companies are forced to not only trust the process of working remotely but also realise its benefits.

Trust in technology

In recent years, remote working has been limited to those companies and individuals who have access to the necessary technology. The sudden need for employees to work from home has not only required companies to ramp up their technology but to trust that it will work. Broadband internet, VPNs, teleconferencing software and modern hardware have become a standard consideration for almost all companies that are able to continue operating remotely.

Within an incredibly short space of time, we have become much more reliant on technology not only for work but for everyday interactions and schooling. Shifting our physical worlds to an online world has proven to be possible but has created new demands for technological advancement. Broadband internet, a few months ago seen as satisfactory for 2020, has been pushed to its limits and exposed the necessity to roll-out a more powerful infrastructure and fast-track a new generation of web. The coronavirus outbreak is forcing companies and technology services to think on their feet and arrive at innovative solutions as we fast forward to the future.