On the 17th May pubs and restaurants will seat people inside again, up to 30 people will be able to meet outdoors and friends and family can come into your house for the first time in 2021.
Many offices will also welcome employees back, if they have not already done so, although there is a question mark around how many of us will return to office-based work.
Forbes estimate that by 2025 70% of the workforce will work remotely for at least five days every month.
This shift in working pattern of course comes on the back of the pandemic, as organisations slowly got used to allowing employees to work from home as a proactive, productivity boosting choice, rather than as an occasional perk.
The groundwork from a technology point of view appears to have already been done. Microsoft Teams, for example, saw an increase in users from 20 million in November 2019 to 75 million by April 2020.
With remote work here to stay then and SAAS solutions meaning that employees have everything they need in their own homes, has business internet connectivity fallen down the list of priorities for businesses? Is a strong, reliable, fast connection to an office really a necessity if there’s no-one in the office?
If an internet connection goes down but no-one is there to moan about it, has it actually gone down at all?
The hybrid future
The reality that businesses are likely to encounter is quite different.
As Forbes’ figures highlight, the future is not one where everyone is at home all of the time (we’ve all had enough of that), but where most businesses embrace flexibility and adaptability.
Some employees will be in the office, some will be remote and some will split the two.
Online meetings and video calls will continue to replace physical meetings, particularly where significant national or international travel can be avoided.
So as more of our working lives continue to happen online the burden on office internet connectivity is actually likely to increase rather than decrease.
It’s going to be more vital than ever that your office has sound connectivity. All of your team remoting in to work will be relying on it, even if they are not physically in the office. Your meeting with a key prospect at the other end of the country will now need to be underpinned by best of breed connectivity, rather than by a best of breed car that can get you there even if you left one hour late.
Security and future adaptability
As the ‘new way of working’ beds in and matures we’ve also seen an increase, rather than a decrease, in questions around exactly how office connectivity can be best configured.
SD-WANs, for example, are on the rise.
Initially the question was ‘how can I enable my team to work remotely?’ Now the question is ‘how can I enable my team to work remotely, flexibly and securely?’ Just being able to remote work is no longer the primary focus.
Solutions like SD-WANS, which allow you to configure access to your network through different types of connections, using software and managing policy and security at the same time, are part of the new flexible, strongly connected future.
Taking network connectivity ‘from fragile to agile’ was how Gartner described the approach.
The government has a pledge to provide super fast internet connectivity to every business by 2025, emphasising that the demand for office connectivity isn’t going anywhere and that businesses will continue to seek out the best, most reliable connections, to underpin our increasingly online business lives.
Our FasterBritain projects, like the one on Winsford Industrial Estate, are part of this connectivity pledge.
May 17th will rightly be about seeing family and friends and enjoying little ‘treats’ like actually sitting inside a pub.
But when thoughts turn to the office, whether you’ll be back in the office full time, working remotely still or a mixture of both, it’s your business internet connectivity that will continue to play a major role in the future of your business and the productivity of your team. And the innovations and improvements coming in 2021 and beyond will help those who embrace their connectivity provision to succeed faster than ever.