A year in technology – how the pandemic shaped us

10 February 2021, 01:08 GMT
By Louisa Turley

Let’s take a minute and try and remember life before the pandemic. A lot has changed, but none more so than our relationship with technology.

In just a short amount of time the Covid-19 crisis has pushed us over the technology tipping point and bought about years of change in just 12 months.

Looking to explore how Covid-19 has impacted employees, a new survey conducted by EBC Group in conjunction with the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce has highlighted some of the significant changes in ‘how and where’ we now do business.

For most, the biggest changes came as a result of remote working. The unexpected shift saw many thrown into technology turbulence as they scrambled to get their workforce up and running from home. In fact, 85% of businesses experienced at least one challenge as a result of remote working during this time, an impact that was felt across EBC Group’s support team, with 8 x the number of clients seeking helpdesk support in the first weeks of lockdown.

What became clear were the gaps between those businesses who had already begun to digitally transform their workplace prior to Covid-19 and those who were still running on dated systems. Businesses already taking advantage of cloud technologies were able to shift from office to home with relative ease, setting them apart from those with ageing and inflexible technology.

78% of businesses have adopted or increased their use of new technologies over the pandemic.

In a bid to continue operations ‘as usual’, businesses looked to digitalise key processes with 78% having adopted or increased their use of new technologies over the pandemic. It should come as little surprise that video conferencing saw the biggest leap in this area, with 75% of businesses using platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams as their primary way of conducting meetings and networking.

Additionally, the adoption of technology services such as Office 365, cloud, home print and document management also saw an increase as businesses searched for ways to digitally support their remote workers.

Faced with the challenge of keeping colleagues connected away from the office led businesses to seek out new ways to collaborate effectively. The significant increase in the adoption of collaboration tools saw the Microsoft Teams platform rocket in user numbers, with the app reaching a record 75 million users in a single day which was 3 x the number just a few months before.

However, the unprecedented increase in digital tools and remote workers didn’t come without its share of risks. Looking to capitalise on the pandemic hackers saw the opportunity that personal devices and vulnerable Wi-Fi connections provided and were quick to take advantage of businesses who didn’t have the right security protocols in place.

As a result, 2020 saw an alarming increase in the amount of malware, phishing and spam attacks.

62% of businesses are now expecting their spend on technology and digital transformation to increase

But how does workplace technology look moving forward? For some, the events of Covid-19 and the strain placed on their technology will prompt a number to sit up and take stock of their current IT setups. 62% of businesses are now expecting their spend on technology and digital transformation to increase as a result of the pandemic. This in part will be influenced by the 31% of businesses that intend to offer greater flexible working options moving forward, and the majority 58% that intend to keep their current flexible working setups.

Having helped many of their clients adapt their technologies to support remote employees, EBC Group recommends that businesses now use this time to reflect on what has and hasn’t worked over the past 12 months. Changes made should be with the objective of developing an effective digital workplace and include a range of solutions such as cloud, collaboration tools and unified communications.

For more informations on EBC Group’s Digital Workplace solutions contact us here, or talk to one of our team on 0121 585 4400.

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