What’s next for business, post-COVID-19?

May 11th 2020

The team make their predictions

In this time of uncertainty, there’s one thing we can bank on – things won’t go back to before, even after we have a vaccine. Those changes aren’t necessarily good or bad, but they will roll in.

Our team aren’t just IT experts, they also work with a huge cross-section of businesses, so have a fairly attuned instinct for how people are working now – and how they’re likely to in the future. We reached out to get their predictions – or hopes – for the future.

Rich Johnson, Senior Systems Engineer: secure, simple, remote working

This is a fairly obvious one – but it’s so connected to what we do that it’s worth mentioning. Most businesses have found they’ve managed fine with teams working from home. Many are now talking about the possibility of returning to a much smaller office space – or of going fully remote, long-term. A few weeks of patched together workflow was fine, but to enable a team to go fully remote long-term will take a bit more set-up.

The biggest part of that from a tech perspective is using SSL VPN. These give users easy remote access to organisational resources – they also create more reliable connects and secure internet sessions. They don’t need special equipment or software – just a modern browser. If users are connecting to the office using older methods, (like RDP with port forwarding or PPTP/L2TP VPN) it could dramatically impact on productivity and security. There’ll also be sharp uptake in resources like Office 365 or Google G Suite, and platforms that give access to all the information they need. These solutions have been around for years, but relatively few businesses have made full use of their capacity – if at all. Remote teams and working from home will be the new normal.

Nick Svebakk, Systems Engineer: decentralised cities, broader global markets

As more people work from home long-term, we’ll see two big shifts. The first is that populations who used to travel into a single spot will now remain largely in their neighbourhoods. This will see city centres diminish – and suburban shopping districts, cafes and eateries thrive. At the same time as workers’ worlds contract, the business world will expand – as more people around the world become used to conducting business remotely, the barrier of distance will become less important. New Zealand companies may find more and more of their clients offshore.

Quentin Watson, Systems Engineer: virtual reality meetings

We’ve all gotten used to the 2D world of meeting in Zoom and Teams – and are well aware of their limitations. As businesses adapt to the COVID-19 reality, could virtual reality become more mainstream? Imagine being able to inspect a new couch without going into a showroom. How about presenting a house plan to clients in (virtual) person or meeting new clients for the first time without being limited by what appears on the screen. The technology is already here to make that happen. Using a VR headset each, participants would access a locked ‘door’ to access the meeting room, shop or office. While we can get started with basic avatars for now, it won’t be too long before we all have 3D models of ourselves – like the Matrix!

Nina Ram, Sales Support Administrator: shifting job marketing, innovation boom

After crisis tends to come innovation – we’ve already seen that coming through as businesses pivot to adjust to the new normal. After the GFC, there was a period of hyper-innovation, with the likes of Airbnb and Uber launching in response to the economic downturn. We’ll see that this time around – and at a more personal level, too. The time people have spent in lockdown with smaller lives will generate much-needed perspective and time. We’ll see people launching businesses, passion projects, changing careers, and following dreams.

Leo Burton, Helpdesk Representative: ready for the next crisis

Over the last few weeks, I’m sure there are many people out there who have had to learn a lot of new skills, such as using remote desktop connections, VPNs and cloud-based applications for work. You may have even learned some neat tricks or handy troubleshooting tools to make your life working at home easier.

While life may be returning to normal soon, it is important not to forget these skills as you never know when you may need them again. It could be some as simple as writing some notes down in a document or taking some screenshots with annotations to remind yourself how to set up important applications.

If this pandemic has proven anything, it’s that our lives and how we work can completely change in the space of a few weeks. This is a great way to ensure that if there is a next time for something like this, you’ll be a step ahead of everyone else.

Alex Proctor, Systems Engineer: moving IT up the priority list

The COVID-19 crisis will ultimately be a good thing for those businesses that pull through – it’ll be the push they need to get their IT systems up to best-practice levels. For example, the companies who kept insisting that in-office work was the only way to go were significantly disadvantaged, while those who’d embraced remote working could transition into level four fairly seamlessly.

Of course, working from home will be part of business as usual, but more importantly, the pandemic will shift IT into a high-priority column. Businesses will understand first-hand why good software and infrastructure is critical to the business, even when things are BAU.

Ryan Paul, Systems Engineer: disaster planning

A black-swan event by its nature is hard to imagine and harder to predict. Living through one will push many decision-makers to prioritise things that had seemed easy to ignore before – continuity and disaster planning. We’ll see many businesses implement these plans for the first time ever – or make more effort to review and update them regularly. It means if anything like this happens again, New Zealand businesses will be ready.

Are you ready for post-lockdown life, and beyond? Get in touch with the team at Isometrics to establish systems that will set you up for success.

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