Many businesses were noticeably caught off guard last year when the coronavirus crisis prompted much of the world’s workforce to suddenly start working from home.

In Australia, now that the deep crisis has passed for now, the shift to remote working looks here to stay. Many employees are enjoying the flexibility and improved work life balance presented by the opportunity to work from home.

Still, a recent survey by O2 Business in the US found that fewer than two-thirds of employees felt confident that their companies were prepared for the future of work, indicating that many businesses might struggle as they try to adapt post-pandemic.

While some companies pumped resources into their digital infrastructure systems at the start of the pandemic, many are still underprepared and therefore vulnerable as employees continue to work from home, more than 12 months after the initial COVID-19 outbreak.

Riverbed in the UK found that the majority of business leaders would be prioritising updating company-wide policies; automating remote-network operations or investing in digital security over the next two years.

It’s been well documented that productivity has improved, at least in the short term. That’s in addition to the work/life balance and mental health benefits that working from home affords employees.

A report by McKinsey Global Institute found that the shift from home has helped many businesses improve their productivity, as companies automated production tasks, increased operational efficiency and sped up decision making and innovation of their operating models.

The report even found that these improvements could accelerate annual productivity growth by around one percentage point a year in the period to 2024.

So how can the economy as a whole leverage the productivity benefits as the impacts of the pandemic subside?

One way is the continued investment into software solutions that allow employees to work flexibly, which is showing no sign of slowing among the business community.

Though the pandemic, many software solutions became available to help employees work from home as seamlessly as possible. 5G Networks has provided companies with a solution that hooks into Microsoft Teams, extending the program’s offering to facilitate collaboration with anyone in the world, working from the office or at home.

So how will companies adapt from here?

Businesses continue to invest heavily in their security infrastructure, after the coronavirus outbreak heightened the risk security breaches or events.

A recent Deloitte survey on the impacts of the pandemic revealed a greater risk of cybercrime faced by employees working from home, due to inadequate technological infrastructure and insufficient cyber security measures. Employees noticed an increase in fraudulent emails, phishing attempts and spam, the report found. That has prompted companies to address any shortcomings.

A diverse range of security and productivity solutions for remote users are now being delivered through the deployment of software applications which are rapidly provisioned through private or public cloud infrastructure, which has seen a major uptake since the start of the pandemic in March last year.

Through COVID, 5G Networks has seen a significant spike in the uptake of cloud solutions as well as collaboration software, as companies adapted to the ‘new normal’, and as they make sure they aren’t going to be caught out again in the future.

This article was originally published in the Australian

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