A new Gartner survey of 229 human resources (HR) managers has revealed that, while 30 per cent of their employees worked remotely at least part of the time before the coronavirus pandemic, 81 per cent or more are currently working remotely and 41 per cent are likely to do so at least some of the time once a return to normal working is permitted. Gartner highlights how it will be important to enable employees to build social and emotional connections, and to help teams work together seamlessly.
Simon Pamplin, director of technical sales at Silver Peak, offers the following comment on how the availability and performance of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) applications will need to be prioritised as they become business critical:
“This new Gartner study indicates what many of us will have been thinking for some time now: that even after the COVID-19 lockdown has ended, life, and particularly work life, will have shifted from what we knew before.
“The current remote working policies are unprecedented, and many organisations have been struggling with ensuring that connectivity, availability and quality of experience for UC&C applications are assured for their workers. This, in my view, represents a key tipping point for UC&C – often viewed as a nice to have in the corporate world, but now deemed a business critical application. This shift in mindset will bleed into the time after COVID-19, with corporate networks prioritising collaborative applications and enterprises actively modernising their network infrastructures to be increasingly intelligent, agile, and adaptive to meet these needs.
“Another factor we’re seeing is the diversity of implementations of collaboration solutions. Popular UC&C applications traditionally hosted on-premises, are shifting to cloud applications (8×8 / RingCentral / Zoom ) in the form of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). This presents another level of complexity for network architects looking to connect remote workers to UCaaS while delivering a high quality of experience.
“With some applications on-premises and others cloud-hosted, networks will need to optimise connectivity automatically on the fly. Our own customers are already starting to extend their SD-WAN fabrics to support remote workers, and as this situation develops, we may be seeing the start of a far greater trend.
“The groundwork done in the last few weeks to prepare networks for en masse remote working will impact not just how smoothly your Skype works, but how we, as a workforce, and businesses as a whole, operate.”