The security measures taken due to the COVID epidemic that broke out three years ago are being phased out all over the world, but there are things that cannot be removed with the stroke of a pen: the home office, for example, will definitely stay with us for a long time, because it has been proven that with the provision of an appropriate IT background, it is convenient, efficient, economical and even environmentally friendly.
Before the pandemic, there were many reservations about remote work, but the emergency situation forced a change in attitude. The COVID came, and it quickly achieved what had not been achieved for a long time before: small and large companies ordered the home office one after the other in the areas where this was possible. Of course, this represented a huge challenge for the SME IT sector, as the framework for this had to be created within a short period of time.
The IT operation team had to develop the rules for this, be it the company’s internal resource or even an external service provider, they had to create the conditions so that working at home is as safe as if colleagues were working on the internal office network. The various end-point protection solutions and network border protection devices have proven to be the most suitable for this. The KSH’s survey at the time reveals a lot about how much of a change this was, in which it can be seen that the proportion of home office workers in Budapest increased from 5.4 percent to 21.3 percent within 1 year of the start of COVID. In other words, every fifth worker in the capital worked remotely.
Now, with the end of the epidemic, we can see some reorganization, but it is almost certain that remote work has permanently entered the public consciousness, whereas before we only saw it as a curiosity.
At the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, IT professionals and system administrators had to take quick measures to adapt the hardware and software environment to the changed needs, while it became increasingly clear that only temporary solutions are needed. In recent years, there have been more and more signs that even after the epidemic, many employers will at least partially retain the home office option.
We realized that the transition to working from home was difficult at first, but then the employees not only got used to it, but really liked this work schedule. Little by little, “half the country” learned what online meetings, remote desktops, and the cloud are, and after a few months they were already at home in this environment. And, of course, we didn’t just get used to the technical environment: since it inevitably happened that the dog walked into the online meeting or the baby took on an unexpected role, the virtual workplace discussions probably became more personal and more accepting.
Of course, this change in attitude also had beneficial effects in other respects, it accelerated the digitization of companies, for example, in many places the previously paper-based work was transferred to the digital space.
The advantages of the home office have also been recognized by employers. It turned out that in the case of appropriate IT systems, efficiency does not decrease, and work can even be more effective in certain areas. It was also an important realization that a smaller office can also be suitable due to remote work, that is, by optimizing the size of the workplace, expenses can be reduced. But even in the search for professionals, this is an advantage, just think: for tasks that rarely require personal presence, companies can now recruit employees from much further away, they can choose from a larger pool, that is, they have a better chance of finding the ideal colleague. And for many, it was also an important aspect: the operation of the company can be made more environmentally conscious if the employees really only get into a car or public transport when a personal meeting is essential.
However, there were those who, even during the epidemic, preferred to be in the office if they could. The home office option was not suitable for them, because unfortunately it was more difficult for them to pay attention to their own physiological needs during the working hours at home. For example, they forgot to get up from the table and drink, they worked much more than the daily norm, or they missed the trip so that their personal life did not get mixed up with work. These are all factors that can be improved with attention.
Last but not least, there is also a less emphasized aspect of remote work, which at the IT Department we jokingly call “impact resistance”. Many people have probably already experienced, for example, that an unplanned, longer power outage or an Internet backbone cable accidentally cut at a neighboring construction site can even completely paralyze an office building. However, when using cloud solutions and remote work, such anomalies can mostly be avoided. Even if one colleague has some unforeseen interruption, it does not hinder the operation of the entire company, which is also a significant argument in favor of remote working. This is the reason why newly installed systems are typically designed and developed in such a way that they are suitable for home offices from the outset.
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