The COVID-19 crisis has made many of us shift our perspectives and reorganize our lives, and one of the most important changes that has happened is the fact that more people are working home from ever, and there is much speculation that many people are simply going to continue working from home once the crisis winds down.
Yet working from home, at least on a larger scale, has only been an accepted phenomenon in the last decade or so, when internet speeds and computing technology made it feasible for some jobs. We are still determining best practices and options, and many of us are still adjusting to a new workplace culture dominated not by closeness and hours worked but by the work done and effective communication.
Yet as much as technology affects working from home, this relationship works both ways. Here are some of the main changes or progressions that we can expect in the coming years.
Stable and Effective Internet Access Will Be Vital for Everyone
Whether it will be the market that effectively mandates it or whether government action either mandates improved internet access or sponsors it, as more people in more diverse areas across the country and the world work from home, we will likely see the rate of people able to have high speed internet increase. Whether in California or in the Midwest, people will be looking for the best internet options, and they’ll be less likely to tolerate subpar service.
In response, ISPs will likely invest more in providing more competitive services, or at least more competitive pricing, so long as the provider doesn’t hold an effective monopoly on the region. Expect direct improvements to internet infrastructure as a result of the working from home increase.
Remote Work Culture Will Shift, And Technology and Apps Will Follow
We have already seen the importance of apps and sites such as Slack, Zoom, and Skype in creating a new remote workplace and team environment. And those services were in part designed to help workplaces. Yet this new wave is spurring into action developers either working with these existing apps or those looking to get a piece of the pie with new innovations in the space.
We aren’t sure what will happen yet, but within the next year we will start to see the new features and apps get released, likely in response to feedback from the recent spike in activity.
The Home Workstation Will Become More Important
The home workstation might be synonymous with the office for many for quite some time. And it’s possible the laptop won’t be enough or the most efficient option available to keep up long-term productivity. And as the crisis goes into the long-term, more employees and people in general will feel the need to upgrade their home setup, with many companies hoping to capitalize on this rapid change.
The question of the quarter will be “What does the modern home workstation need?” Modern high-speed internet services and the equipment to make the most of it, of course, but what beyond that? Naturally, the home computer will become even more adaptive, and thankfully modern operating systems and platforms allow for just that sort of adaptability for any type of home workspace. Developments will be swift, interesting, and often focus on synching people up from distant places.
Portability and Mobility Will Gain Even Greater Importance
While its hard to imagine a world where portability is given even more importance in the world of technology, what we can expect is that the trend of increased working from home will further spur the need for portable workstations or setups that can go in smaller spaces. Not every household has the luxury of enough space for a dedicated home office, and even they might have limitations when compared to what equipment the onsite office equivalent might be.
Additionally, when restrictions are lifted and not everyone goes back to the office, more people might want to take their work to the local coffeeshop or park without sacrificing too much.
Some things we could see are more and smaller multi-use devices, innovations in using existing smartphone and computer technology, and ways for people to maximize productivity from their smartphones, limited keyboards and all.
While we are still in the early stages of this shift, technology and companies, as best they can, are already adapting. Development cycles will continue, but priorities may shift and more questions will be asked on behalf of remote workers. The different waves will come, and they will vary in their effectiveness. In fact, we might not recognize them at first, but the tide of advancement in remote work-friendliness is coming to shore.