The COVID-19 pandemic and a sudden, nationwide adoption of remote working kick-started huge change in many aspects of our daily lives, including our use of technology.
While technology modernisation was on the agenda for many businesses prior to this, the pandemic forced this process to happen almost overnight to ensure continuity while entering a period of intense uncertainty. Remote working, the adoption of cloud computing solutions, SaaS (Software as a Service) models and technology-based collaboration systems were all kicked into overdrive.
The world is now returning to a new normal and many businesses have re-opened their offices. A large number are adopting a hybrid way of working however, where employees’ time is split between the office and remote working.
Technology will therefore continue to play a huge role in day-to-day working. So which pandemic-driven trends are here to stay over the next 12 months and beyond?
To mark London Tech Week (20–24 September 2021), and the return to the office for many businesses in the UK, let’s look at five technology trends we’ll continue to see in the workplace for the foreseeable future.
Cloud computing is absolutely essential for businesses to function with employees working fully or partially from home. It enables you to be completely agile and facilitates innovation and growth, regardless of where you are.
We saw a record number of companies migrating to the cloud in 2020 and this is only set to continue. The future is almost certainly ‘cloud-first’.
Technology-based collaboration tools
Technology tools for collaboration and communication, such as Microsoft 365, the Google G Suite, Skype and Zoom, were already being used by many businesses pre-pandemic but are now an absolutely crucial part of modern working.
Keeping you secure while encouraging seamless collaboration with remote teams, it’s easy to see why these tech tools are now so widely used. Communication is streamlined with easy-to-use audio and video call functionality, as well as instant messaging and file sharing, allowing efficient and user-friendly collaboration.
The uptake of remote working practically overnight meant many businesses rushed their adoption of modern workplace systems and migration to the cloud.
To ensure that security won’t be compromised however, remote working requires strict protocols for device management, data protection and software selection.
With pandemic panic subsiding, many businesses are now looking to assess their new processes post-adoption and finding that many elements that were rushed are having to be revisited and in some cases rebuilt, with a long-term strategy in mind.
Organisations should be developing a full IT roadmap as part of future plans to ensure that their technologies grow alongside their business.
Modern cyber security measures
Pre-pandemic cyber security measures are not secure enough for modern workplaces where remote and hybrid set-ups are commonplace.
Employees in different locations using their own devices, or incorrectly configured work devices that were set up remotely, need much more sophisticated and thorough security measures than when everything was on the company’s network.
Organisations that are adopting modern technology solutions but not thinking about the high-level of security required to protect them are putting themselves at risk. A potential future trend could well be a rise in businesses only realising the importance of this after suffering a breach.
Government-backed standards like Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus provide guidance on the cyber security measures you should be adhering to.
Managed IT support
Managed service providers are replacing often old-fashioned IT support services. The main benefit to this is that managed services provide wide-ranging support that encompasses a cohesive view of your business’ use of technology, rather than reactively solving issues as they arise.
A managed service provider makes sure that a company’s current and future use of technology is optimised and planned for so that it can grow in line with the business.
In the same way that organisations who have adopted modern workplace set-ups need modern cyber security measures in place, they will also need modern IT support in place to ensure that any future IT hurdles are overcome quickly and seamlessly.
Adapting for the future
Companies that are adopting these trends, while also ensuring that they have sufficient security measures and IT support in place, will be in a strong position to adapt for the future of working and ensure success.
About the author(s)
David is a partner in the corporate team and Co-Chair of the firm's global tech Group.