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As COVID-19 continues tearing different industries apart and changing norms, the future of work is now more clear than before working from home. What appeared once as distant prospects have turned into reality as businesses try to find new means of survival. Working from home is one of the areas that has been largely adopted courtesy of this pandemic. With many countries trying to minimize human interaction by introducing lockdown and social distancing measures, many employees are now forced to work from home as companies close their business premises amid the coronavirus pandemic. Companies are now launching different remote working initiatives that will see them continue being productive even as they keep themselves away from infections.

As remote working continues gaining popularity, and companies increasingly shift towards working from home, demand for cloud services is rising faster than ever. Over the past few months, Microsoft has reported an increase in Teams’ usage while Windows virtual desktop usage has grown tremendously to more than three times its regular use. Similarly, IBM cloud services have seen a surge in demand, specifically from healthcare, retail, education, and telecom industries.

The sudden increase in remote working is opening opportunities for startups such as Slack and Zoom as well as older companies such as Microsoft and Google. These companies are now offering free tools with the hope that people will use them permanently even after the pandemic. On the other hand, cloud services are creaking at the edges as they had never witnessed such a sudden surge in demand. Cloud service providers are now forced to accommodate more than what they were never made to do. Corporate networks that were not used to having many virtual private networks (VPN) connections are now experiencing unusual activity. Similarly, internet service providers (ISPs) are going through lots of pressure as they struggle to contain so much demand for bandwidth.

A new normal

Even when things go back to normal, it looks increasingly as if working from home and remote work will never go back to how they were. Many companies that have embraced this shift are beginning to question why they have been going to offices in the first place. Building on pre-existing infrastructures such as chat groups, file-sharing platforms, and remote access, large technology firms have practiced remote working in the past. Smaller companies are also seeing the benefit of this shift. We can expect that after this crisis, the reaction will be a new normal once lockdown and social distancing regulations are lifted. Considering many organizations will have to cut their expenditure to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19. Cloud computing may face a challenge, but working from home will be embraced in the coming days as companies seek to reduce their office expenditures.

The real challenge is now experienced after the suspension of schools. In Italy, suspension of studies led to an increase in the country’s network usage by about two-thirds. This, however, was not due to working from home, but rather due to schoolchildren logging in to online gaming sites such as Fortnite. This affected internet speeds and those who had tasks to complete remotely due to slow speeds.

Human resource leaders seem dissatisfied with work from home experience so far. According to Gartner, 54 percent of HR leaders indicated in a poll that inferior technology and/or infrastructure is the biggest barrier to proper remote working under the current set up. While the world prides itself as having come afar in matters tech, it appears that we will have to do more than we have to ensure cloud computing and connectivity tools can accommodate different users. So far, working from home is not for everyone, but things are turning out well for those who had adopted this strategy before.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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