IDC Report Finds Many Offices Plan to Stay Remote/Hybrid for Foreseeable Future

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In the weird/unpredictable/unprecedented (did I get all the cliches in there?) times we are in, a question has stayed at the forefront of all of our minds: What the heck are our jobs going to make us do when COVID-19 is no longer a thing? For the past (almost) year, we’ve said “new normal” this and “new normal” that. But who can actually predict what any future norm will look like?

Enter IDC with a few research analysts Poly invited to find which technologies and workplace trends have redefined ways of working in the COVID-era and beyond — in three key geographical areas:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia/Pacific

First of all, let’s note that IDC found that 47% of organizations that had a long-term digital transformation strategy and made investments before the pandemic are showing strong signs of business growth. But I didn’t have to remind you that a well-prepared workforce is going to find a way to make it through a pandemic. That’s common sense. Also, 84% of business leaders plan on accelerating the digitalization of work processes through the use of videoconferencing and other tools. That part makes sense because 83% of business leaders are now planning more opportunities for remote work than they were pre-pandemic.

North America — The Remote Work Recovery Model

  • 38% of North American companies are prioritizing workplace transformation investments to survive and thrive in the “Next Normal.”
  • Remote work is normalized for knowledge workers, while guidelines for essential workers become clear (businesses and schools are still experimenting with limited-opening models).
  • Basically, post-COVID will see a good amount of people go back to the office, but not as many as were there in, say, 2018.
See related  Back to Work May Not Mean High Tech Workspaces

Europe — The Hybrid-by-Design Recovery Model

  • 40% of European companies are prioritizing workplace transformation investments to survive and thrive in the Next Normal.
  • Work locations are becoming more decentralized, leveraging a network of coworking spaces closer to commuter hubs.
  • One in four European companies plan to primarily work from home post-vaccine. Governments across the region are introducing legislation to allow hybrid working models (although remote working legislation varies by country).

Asia/Pacific —The Office-First Recovery Model

  • 39% of APAC organizations are investing in “crisis response” technology that either reduces operating costs or focuses on business continuity in reaction to the current pandemic.
  • 74% of Asia/Pacific organizations anticipate a full return to the primary workplace in a post-vaccine world, likely by the second half of 2021. (Early remediation against the COVID-19 pandemic and strict regulation have enabled many Asia/Pacific countries to return to the office as a primary work location.)
  • However, there is an idea that businesses need to be digital-first in order to connect with customers/partners if and when a crisis occurs.

Conclusion

As you can see from the data above — the workforce is going to be forever changed. I leave you with two other key stats: 39% of organizations reported that they will support the new demands of a flexible/remote work style by increasing endpoint investments. Finally, 40% said they will redesign their work models to support a hybrid workforce including physical workspace, tools and endpoints.

The full IDC InfoBrief: “Digital Work Transformation: Equipping the Hybrid Workforce Across the World” can be found here. You can also check out Poly’s blog post and catch the other highlights.