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Post-Covid office: half empty and based in the cloud

With most businesses having already established a hybrid working plan, employees will not use almost half of the office desks next year. A major win for the cloud providers.

The coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to adapt to remote working. So much so that 93% of companies already have a hybrid working plan, researchers at Zen Internet claim.

A survey of over 200 UK-based businesses shows that companies plan that only 55% of office space and desks will be used next year, with employees roaming the offices up to three days a week.

The less time spent on-premise, the greater demand for cloud-based solutions. According to the survey, only 11% of UK businesses plan to host tech operations indoors. Meanwhile, off-premise tools are expected to boom.

Research shows that top tech investment businesses are planning to make next year involve off-premise tools with Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) named y 26% of respondents, followed by AI (25%) and automation (24%) solutions.

Reusing empty spaces

With the off-premise approach gaining a foothold, businesses will look at how to repurpose 8% of office space, which companies on average dedicate to data centers.

A survey by Zen shows that companies aim to increase floor space dedicated to employee collaboration. 39% of businesses want to increase meeting areas, 36% name expansion of individual working spaces, while a third see an increase in the area for hybrid workspaces.

According to Becky Turner, a workplace psychologist at Claremont, the office in a post-pandemic world will likely be less of a workplace and more a place to meet and socialize.

“Whilst focused tasks can largely be carried out from home, the Destination Office maximizes the office space for those necessary functions that have been noticeably absent from our working lives over the past 18 months,” Turner said.

Expensive to remove

The survey shows that half of the businesses see on-premise data centers as costly to maintain and a security threat, with over a third concerned with the lack of skilled personnel to maintain them.

However, 77% of respondents said relocating data centers would be too expensive, while 82% thought the task was too time-consuming.

Most businesses said they were not educated on the complexities of cloud technologies, and 75% said they would need external help to move their on-premise data center to the cloud.

The International Data Corporation (IDC), a market intelligence company, claims that a staggering 90% of new enterprise applications will be cloud-native by 2022. With the majority of the businesses adopting cloud, questions about cloud security become unavoidable.

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