Moving beyond Freedom Day has IT implications

Even though the Delta variant continues to rise in the UK, the Government has stuck to its plans to remove Covid-19 restrictions.

In effect, it has passed on responsibility for keeping people safe to individuals and businesses.

How far will businesses go to keep their staff safe and what are the privacy implications? Is it OK for the human resources department or a line manager to know that an employee has been tested positive? Will a vaccination passport be needed to get into the office?

Computer Weekly recently spoke to Kashif Rahamatullah, Deloitte’s national Google Cloud practice and alliance leader about the future of work. “Covid-19 was such a unique phenomenon. There were no rules,” he says. But as economies open up, business leaders need to consider what post Covid work will look like. Like many organisations, Deloitte surveyed its staff and found a proportion wanted to return to the office, some wanted to work wholly at home and others wanted the flexibility of being in three or four days a week.

After the lockdown

Hybrid work is clearly completely different to lockdown work. It’s not practical to have a group catchup on a video conference call in an open plan office.
Then there is the question of office space. If only a third of staff will be in the office at any given time, there is little point in having banks of empty desks. But equally, when hot desking, people who do work some of the time from home, will likely want to be seated near their team. Deloitte uses an app, in which an employee can book a seat in the same vicinity as other team members.

As for running conference calls, rather than having dedicated conference rooms, the space in the office is reconfigured with AV-equipped team meeting rooms. Whether people are working in the office or at home, this allows them to catch-up with office based team members in a way that avoids annoying everyone else in an open plan office.

And as for those who would like to work at home but do not have a quiet space to work, Rahamatullah says that the commercial business sector is already adapting. Freelancers often chose to hire desks in co-working spaces rather than work from home. There is clearly potential for employees working from home to do this too.

Post-covid work is going to be very different to what has happened over the last 15 months. Many of the decisions business leaders will need to take will require new IT systems and workflows.

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