Post-corona: how do businesses see the future?

11.05.2020

Will the coronavirus measures have a long-term impact on the way we work? Orange asked the businesses themselves.

In search of the new normal

Business restarting, shops opening again and schools preparing to welcome the first returning pupils. We’re gradually getting back to normal, it seems. But will we go back to our old habits, or are we on the brink of a new normal? Orange presented a few suggestions about the future to Belgian businesses. 75 respondents shared their expectations in the areas of HR, ICT, operations and IT security.

 

Open-plan offices will survive the corona crisis

In HR, it’s generally expected that we will be more flexible in our working after the crisis. 82 % of respondents expect to see more flexible working hours, 79 % expect more homeworking. This flexibility will likely be limited to working time and space, however. When it comes to management, no changes are expected. Teleworking and flexible hours may become the new standard, more self-directed teams will not.

Contrary to what has been suggested in the media, our offices in the post-corona era will not be transformed into small, closed spaces. Covid-19 will not signal the end of the open-plan office.

 

Video meetings and webinars are here to stay

Online meetings and webinars have quickly become integrated in recent weeks. Collaboration tools have gained a fixed place in our way of working, and it doesn’t appear that businesses will be in a hurry to give them up. Just under 90 % of respondents say they will make more use of collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams, Lifesize or Cisco Webex in future. This evolution goes hand in hand with the increased use of cloud applications.

In terms of hardware, too, changes are being felt: during the coronavirus crisis, lots of employees have been able to use smartphones, laptops and tablets. It’s expected that many companies will make more mobile devices available to their employees in the future.

 

Online meetings are the new business trips

Operations is where the greatest changes are expected. Our survey has good news for the climate: online meetings will be the new business trips. Now that practice has shown that video calling presents lots of opportunities, many companies indicate that they will look again at their policy on business travel and limit the number of overseas trips.

Most companies that have invested more in a webshop during the crisis will continue to do so after this period is over. In this way, the coronavirus crisis has given a boost to e-commerce in the long term. But anyone who thinks that companies will increasingly rely on local partners and suppliers: think again. Only a little over half of respondents see themselves collaborating more locally. ‘Buy local’ may become a hit for consumers, but in the business world, it will definitely not.

 

Cybercrime high on the IT agenda

In terms of IT security, companies recognise above all that it’s important to educate their employees about the dangers of cybercrime. The protection of mobile devices against malware is also high on the agenda: three-quarters of respondents will focus more on this issue.

What’s notable is that there are few plans to invest in stable VPN connections in the future. This can be explained by the fact that many businesses have already made these investments during the coronavirus crisis.

 

And you? Are you ready for the new normal, where teleworking, stable VPNs and protection against cybercrime play an important role?
 

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