“The reality is, we’re never going to go back to normal.”
Those were the words spoken by Emerging Technology and Future of Work Strategist Adam Zuckerman during the Fiber Broadband Association’s Fiber for Breakfast video conference last month.
Zuckerman was also joined by another professional who serves in a similar capacity, JS Group CEO Janet Shijns. Both Zuckerman and Shijns predicted that it will become the new norm for companies to allow staff to work from home on a regular or permanent basis, even if they aren’t thrilled with the idea. Regardless, both experts say employers likely won’t have a choice for a long time.
In addition, Shijns and Zuckerman say many offices don’t have the resources in place to operate with lots of people safely. Shijns says traditional office buildings are not typically outfitted for social distancing measures and don’t have the ability to purchase temperature scanners.
“No one is in a rush to get back to work, especially if they have invested in an open floor plan that was meant to stimulate creativity, but just stimulates germs,” Shijns told the Fiber Broadband Association. “And a large portion of the workforce is at risk, or they’re caring for someone who is at risk. Corporate lawyers are very nervous about the risks they entail about bringing people back.”
Zuckerman says companies need to think about ow they’re going to accommodate employees working remotely. He added that those plans should involve determining what kind of technology would be needed to equip employees with, which includes security software and stronger internet service.
Zuckerman predicted that the future could force internet service providers and wholesale fiber providers to reassess how they operate. The Fiber Broadband Association says the developing state of the workplace could inspire companies to expand their fiber backbones to be closer to larger residential spaces, increase fiber constriction and would prompt ISPs to explore ways to improve the reliability of their residential services.
“This could be a precursor to something that is far worse with another pandemic,” Zuckerman told the Fiber Broadband Association. “So, companies need to start thinking about how they can put something into action that gives you long-term sustainability, not just something that works now.”