Working From Home: How COVID-19 is Impacting the IT Industry
By Tim Burkhart, COO & Co-Founder
If you’re reading this, there’s a strong possibility you’re working from home. And likely not by choice.
As coronavirus cases have surged, millions of Americans have been asked to work from home—with nearly 46% of American businesses having implemented remote-work policies as of mid-February, led by tech giants Microsoft, Google, and Twitter.
On the flip side, millions of Americans who can’t work from home—across the hospitality, travel, and service industries, among many others—face unemployment as more businesses are forced to close their doors in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
So, what does this mean for the Information Technology industry? For now, business-as-usual…kind of.
A growing number of states nation-wide have listed Information Technology and Communications as “essential businesses,” permitted to stay open during this time. And among the industries with the highest hiring surge right now? Online learning companies and remote meeting and communication companies, includingZoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.
The need for technology—and a solid infrastructure with a workforce to support it—may be greater now than ever before. So how is this new work-from-home culture impacting the IT industry? We predict demand will grow exponentially in the following areas:
Collaboration software will be key to maintaining company culture
With entire workforces packing up the contents of their desks and setting up shop in their home offices (or kitchen tables), the need to keep employees connected—while maintaining a positive company culture—has never been more important.
Increased usage of collaboration software companies like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft, which all offer tools that make it easier to work remotely, has simultaneously opened up a host of new issues for IT teams. In some cases, organizations will need IT support in place to help set these programs up from remote locations, in others to attend to a new influx of help tickets, ranging from “Why can’t I log into my account?” to “How do we ensure 500+ people can get on a video conference at once?”
There has never been a more crucial time to ensure that your organization not only has some form of these tools in place but is equipped with talented IT support and leadership.
With a workforce at home, cybersecurity measures are in high-demand
With a large portion of the workforce now logging in from remote, potentially non-secure locations, new challenges have presented themselves with regard to cybersecurity. Businesses with technology allowing for remote access—including VPNs, cloud-based services, applications like DropBox or Google Drive, etc.—will have an increased need for infrastructure and staff to put safeguards in place, including two-factor authentication and strong password protection.
Additionally, it comes as no surprise that there are individuals looking to capitalize on this overnight shift to less-secure remote connection, and protection against the sudden spike in COVID-19-related malware and phishing scams will require companies to bulk up their security measures and the IT professionals to help implement them.
Some of the nation’s leading organizations have already begun to put heightened safeguards into place, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which launched a new platform last week to help global networks under increasing strain to remain “safer, stronger, and more connected.” And that’s not all; leading cybersecurity companies like European-based ENISA is one of several that’s released a series of recommendations for companies moving to teleworking as a result of COVID-19.
What it means for you…
One thing is clear: As long as employees are working from home, information technology—across nearly every sector—will be an essential part of maintaining productivity, culture, and success for industries ranging from healthcare to tech. And while it’s impossible to know how long this work-from-home policy will last, it’s more than likely that this mandated “work-from-home experiment,” as Bloomberg Technology puts it, will forever change how—and from where—the world works.
About Odyssey Pursuit Enterprises
Founded in 2015, Odyssey Pursuit Enterprises is an Executive Search Firm for IT and Advanced Technology markets. Our goal is to build our premier clients’ teams and advance our candidates’ careers with a core focus and specialization in Network Engineering, Cloud & Workplace Infrastructure, Software & Mobile Applications, and Executive Leadership, including Operations for IT Consulting, Professional Services and Managed Services.