Your future challenges just walked in

As instability and anxiety continue to shape the future of everything, there do seem to be some future challenges to your business that just walked in. The disruption of business as usual has taken a toll both on the consuming public and on business owners but there seems to be a future shaping up that just may need to be adapted to. Some research recently released by S&P Global Market Intelligence, has zeroed in on just what may be coming and what just may be here right now. The following is taken directly from their published report:

  • “As organizations are heading back to the office in the wake of COVID-19, it is important to quantify what changes materialized during these past few months as a potential indication for the future of work,” said Liam Eagle, Head of Voice of the Enterprise Research at 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. “Leveraging timely data from our flash survey capabilities can help us better understand these changes and overall market sentiment, while enabling organizations to make informed business decisions during times of uncertainty.”
  • Firms have implemented several travel and event-related measures that change office life. In addition to the 80% of organizations that said they have employed expanded or universal work-from-home policies, 85% have implemented travel limitations and the same percentage limited or banned face-to-face meetings. 71% of respondents also said they are converting hosted events into virtual ones and 37% have expanded employee leave rules among other changes.
  • Companies are in no rush to head back to workplaces. Although close to 19% of organizations intend to have employees return to offices as soon as local regulations allow, 25% will wait a month or more while another 24% have not yet determined any timeline.
  • A reduction in office space is expected. While companies are hesitating to head back to physical office spaces, 47% of respondents say they are likely to reduce its physical office footprint because of the COVID-19 outbreak. More than 20% expect it to reduce by more than 25%.

  • Altered working conditions are presumed to be long-term or permanent. About 20% of respondents say their organization is planning to operate under alternate conditions such as remote working, wearing protective gear, and social distancing through 2021 and beyond. 14% responded that conditions have been altered permanently, while 18% have yet to establish a plan.
  • Travel will remain scarce, even in Q4 2020. Compared to the last quarter of 2019, a third of organizations (34%) expect work travel to be reduced by 80% or more in the fourth quarter of this year; yet, a large cohort of respondents (21%) say they don’t know how much travel will resume during this period.
  • Social distancing serves as a barrier to returning to office life. 79% of organizations agree that social distancing will be the biggest challenge in resuming normal operations.
  • Organizations are more likely to be spending more on IT resources with notable increases to security spending. Compared to March, increased information security spending grew more common (from 15% to 28% of businesses) and organizations are spending more on communication and collaboration technologies (50%), employee devices and services (43%), information security tools (42%) and network capacity (38%).
  • Many businesses are seeking flexible terms from suppliers. More than half (56%) of organizations agreed they were offering to adjust the terms of leases, licenses or contracts for their customers. Similarly, 42% of organizations said they were expecting or asking IT vendors to adjust pricing, payment terms or payment models.

-Written by Kevin Sawyer