Working From Home – The New Norm?

The New Frontier:  Places of work post COVID-19 and the role of the Micro Data-centre

As 2020 progresses with many new obstacles to negotiate in the world of work, many commentators have begun to discuss and analyse a so-called ‘new normal’ for office work and working from home.  McKinsey Consulting refers to this is a reimagining of the workplace and central to this burgeoning dialogue is the idea that everything has changed and with this change, there is a potential benefit.  The workspace can, therefore, be reimagined as a place that amalgamates the best of home working and the best of office working and that develops individuals and improves productivity. This is an exciting prospect.  Ditching commuting and having a quiet place to get on with private work as well as meeting days and social interaction in a planned and managed context is probably an extremely attractive prospect for many office workers. 

The perpetuation of these ideas comes hard on the heels of growing frustration with the modern working world where there is a natural conflict between the capacity of new technology for remote working and what is often referred to as ‘legacy processes’.   While it is possible that any dependency on legacy processes represents and reflects scale and agility, COVID-19 has demonstrated that adaptation is essential to the ability to function in work during a pandemic.  The idea of working from home as a new normal has occurred by virtue of circumstance and does not negate its significance and usefulness to work of the future.

Remote Working and Cloud-based Storage

Central to the longevity of ‘new normal’ is the significance of IT systems to adequately support remote working.  The Gartner Report, for IT professionals 2020 states that support is essential for effective home working.  Moreover, the latest report identifies the relationship between productivity and access to instant messaging for general communication, file sharing/meeting solutions and access to data and enterprise applications.  Adequate security for these systems when working from home is also acknowledged as paramount and one that is complicated by remote access.   

While cloud-based storage is more than likely adequate for most. It seems micro data centres for home offices might also play a major role in the new normal.  Individual homeworkers who work with complex and large volumes of data could successfully use microdata centres at home. Similarly, for businesses that have reduced their physical footprint and desk space micro data centres could replace the server rooms of old. Small server racks with great cooling will give any home worker coming to terms with the new normal, all they need for storage and back backup without latency.  Similarly, for offices reducing their footprint small and medium-sized server racks with proper cooling could support new normal offices that are gathering places and hubs for critical business backup and IT junctions for home working.

COVID -19 has challenged us, in terms of our working lives on many levels.  Most importantly it has challenged us to examine old practices and find a new and improved way of going forward productively.  In this way, we can embrace the new normal as an exciting adventure into a more rewarding and balanced working world while working from home.