It’s no secret that the last 12-months will have had a dramatic impact on how businesses operate and a recent study by analysts IDC (International Data Corporation) predicts that whilst people are starting to return to work, offices will be 30% less occupied by 2025.

By contrast, the analysis states that the number of home-workers has increased 17.7 times during the pandemic.

The forecast uses research on the intentions of companies to return employees to the office as well as national government statistics and macroeconomic forecasts.

Brought about by the pandemic and the need for businesses to find a way to continue operations through the lockdowns and restrictions, IDC suggest that this trend is driven by a number of factors; the availability of homeworking equipment, and productivity benefits seen when working from home.

The tools available to facilitate homeworkers are nothing new. Cloud-based platforms and hosted solutions for IT, Applications and Communications have been available for many years. Hosted Telephone Systems for example had been steadily growing in popularity as people started to realise the costs savings, flexibility and preferable purchase options. But the lockdowns have forced many more organisations to find ways to support remote and home-working staff.

“We are not going back to the way we worked before”, said Mick Heys, Vice President, Future of Workplace, at IDC. “The role of the office will change to more of a collaborative and creative space, with employees working from home at least one day per week. This has implications for the technologies used — it will be important the maintain digital equivalence for employees irrespective of location to maintain employee experience.”

This has also been borne out by the many online polls and surveys that show that as much as 90% of employees favour a mixture of home and office-based working in the future with many stating that the failure of an employer to offer this flexibility would result in them changing companies.

With this prediction, it’s even more essential for businesses to ensure that they have the right tools to support their teams to work more flexibly. Not only do businesses need to provide the tools for people to do their jobs but also provide the working conditions that will attract and retain the top talent. Work is no longer just somewhere you go, but more than ever it’s simply something you do.

The Securus CallSwitch hosted telephone system uses the latest cloud technology to enable users to work from anywhere and via any device. Included as standard users get a premium IP deskphone and the Communicator App that works on mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops. In addition, Securus CallSwitch provides a collaboration suite that lets users take a conversation from an instant message to a phone call and on to a web-conference with full desktop sharing without having to switch to 3rd-party applications such as Zoom, Teams or Slack.

“We have seen almost all of our customers review their telephone system to enable home and remote working and we have been able to support them,” explains Stephen Dykes, Director of Securus Voice Services. “What’s more, every conversation we’re having with prospective customers is largely driven by their need to implement a more permanent solution as returning to the office is now seen as a part-time thing. Having been forced to cobble together a temporary solution in 2020 with a mixture of technologies, IT departments are now looking to consolidate and take back control of their communications infrastructure.”