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The Future of Work
An HP Labs Report
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This report was developed by HP Labs. HP Labs mission is to identify, create and develop technologies and
experiences that delight customers and define the future of HP. The research, inventions, and incubations that
come out of HP Labs are based on global trends, emerging technologies, and market insights, that enable HP to
expand its existing business focus, as well as open up entirely new market opportunities.
©2020 HP Development Company, L.P.
The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements
accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial
errors or omissions contained herein.
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Contents
Introduction
The Wherever Office
COVID-19 is accelerating the adoption
of remote working and transforming
the meaning of workplace
Remote work could spur move to ex-
urbs and secondary cities
COVID-19 will lead to a gradual
reduction in the office footprint
COVID-19 will accelerate the
decentralization of industry-specific
geographic hubs
Post pandemic scenario
Remote Work is a Win-win for
Employers and Employees
Remote work, as a result of COVID-19,
is leading to productivity gains
and savings
Employers are focused on their
employees’ physical and mental well-
being now more than ever
Home office stipends and delivered
lunches will become a common
workplace perk
A more remote workforce will increase
the importance of trust between
employers and employees – setting
clear expectations around availability
and deliverables
Post pandemic scenario
Remote Work May Offer Employees New
Opportunities and Challenges
Remote work and the impacts of
COVID-19 are a double-edged sword for
working parents, particularly women
The Digitization of The Virtual Workplace
COVID-19 has accelerated digital
transformation
COVID-19 is accelerating the adoption of
automation in customer support
Industries are looking to technology
and automation to future-proof
their business
A more remote workforce will
necessitate an acceleration of global
cybersecurity spending, as 2020
has already been a banner year for
cybersecurity attacks
Post pandemic scenario
In Summary
Appendix
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COVID-19 has impacted virtually every aspect of our
lives. From healthcare, to the economy, education,
travel, retail, and more. The rapid spread of the virus
forced businesses around the world to adjust and
transform practically overnight.
Non-essential workers who could, were forced to
work from home, creating instant remote workforces
and turning corporate policies and IT infrastructures
on their head. Remote workers scrambled to set-up
optimal home offices, adjust to online collaboration
and meetings, and find a new workday flow, one that
included spouses and children who were also working
and learning remotely.
While some people have returned to the office in recent
months, at least part-time, recent spikes in COVID-19
infections have companies assessing if remote working
should be a more permanent strategy, or if a hybrid
model—combining remote and co-located work—may
be the future of work.
As the world braces for the second wave of COVID-19,
this report will provide key trends and insights on what
the future of work could look like during and
post COVID-19.
The Future of Work
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COVID-19 is accelerating the
adoption of remote working and
transforming the meaning of
workplace
A survey from Buffer in 2019 found that only 30% of
companies surveyed were fully remote workforces,
with only 20% having at least half their company
remote. Fast forward to 2020 where most U.S.
companies have shifted nearly their entire “non-
essential” workforce to remote as COVID-19 spread.
This sudden experiment in remote workforces has
proven predominantly positive for companies and
employees, leading to corporate executives seeing
remote work as a standard part of business practice
going forward. A recent Gartner survey found that
82% of company leaders would allow employees
to continue working remotely some of the time,
with nearly half (47%) finding it reasonable to allow
employees to work remotely full-time going forward.
The Wherever Office
Global Workplace Analytics estimates that about 75
million U.S. employees could work-from-home at least
part of the time with 25-30% of the U.S. workforce
working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis by
the end of 2021. This aligns with PWC survey findings
that 72% of office workers would like to work remotely
at least two days a week, even after the pandemic
ends.
Could this shift in workplace location have a broader
impact on both commercial and residential real estate?
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72% of office workers
would like to work remotely
at least two days per week
Source: PWC
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With the rise of remote work comes space and location
considerations, as more remote workers weigh the
size and functional layouts of their homes. A Zillow and
Harris Poll survey found that only 46% of American
homes have a spare bedroom that could be used as an
office space, with that number dropping by ten or more
points in dense, more expensive metro areas like New
York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
The same survey found that nearly a third of U.S.
workers would consider moving in order to have a
home with a dedicated office space (31%), to live in a
larger home (30%), and to live in a home with more
rooms (29%).
This exodus is already occurring in the San Francisco
Bay Area where nearly 15% of the 3,300 tech workers
surveyed have left the region since the outbreak of
COVID-19. Among Facebook employees, 40% said they
were interested in full-time remote work, and among
that subset of employees, 75% said they were either
pretty confident or they might move to a different city
if they could work remotely.
Remote work is a great way to avoid high-rent and
high-mortgage areas, as well as traffic congestion,
pollution, and overcrowding, making a move to
secondary cities more attractive to today’s growing
virtual workforce.
Remote work could spur move to exurbs and secondary cities
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COVID-19 will lead to a gradual reduction in the office footprint
COVID-19 is also having a tremendous impact on commercial real estate. According to the National Association of
Realtors, commercial sales among REALTORS® fell 5% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020. Sales prices
were also down by 3%, leasing volume fell by 4%, and construction was down 5%. Looking ahead, they expect
commercial vacancy rates to continue to hover at 15% and remain elevated until employment gets back to pre-
pandemic levels.
Even prior to the pandemic, companies were desperate to shed costs. They discovered they could do more with
less real estate as studies repeatedly show employees are not at their desk 50-60% of the time. Now faced with
a slowing economy, changing customer behaviors, and success with remote workers, companies may be even
further inclined to shed office space. In May, CBRE predicted an approximate 7% drop in office rents per square
foot from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. Twitter recently listed 104,850 square feet of its San Francisco
headquarters for sublease, while Pinterest spent $89.5 million to terminate their San Francisco office lease.
With more people working remotely, companies may
open regional hubs or provide access to co-working
spaces wherever their workers are concentrated rather
than have most of their workforce at one central office.
REI, for example, has decided to sell its brand-new
headquarters in Seattle before even moving
into the space. Instead they will open a few
smaller offices and allow employees to
continue to work remotely. McKinsey
research indicates that this may
be a trend, with office-space
decision makers expecting the
percentage of time worked
in main and satellite offices
to decline by 12% and 9%,
respectively, while flex
office space—a single
space used for multiple
purposes—work would
be about the same,
and remote work will
increase to 27%.
The days of big corporate
headquarter campuses
may be numbered if these
trends hold.
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As employees move farther from central office
locations, a natural dispersion of industry geographic
hubs may also occur. Companies as well as smaller
towns and cities around the world are offering financial
incentives for employees to relocate. For example,
Zapier offers their employees a $10,000 bonus to
move out of the expensive San Francisco Bay Area.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, who has also been offering a cash
incentive to lure remote workers to the city since 2018,
saw their applications double in the first two months of
the pandemic.
Post pandemic scenario
Real estate and financial impact
• Companies will consolidate their commercial real estate
• Companies will move to shorter leases and coworking space options
• Commercial buildings owned will be repurposed into multi-company co-working spaces, day care, event
venues etc.
• Large corporate campuses could be turned into subsidized housing
• Employee office furniture lease programs and equipment stipends will be common
• Home mortgage down payments could be used to attract star talent
• Hotels and restaurants could be transformed into popup offices or rentable spaces
• Shared spaces will become contactless spaces, with door sensors, touchless surfaces, touch-free printing,
and voice interfaces
• Offices that remain could adopt hub and spoke models, used just for ad hoc meetings, corporate events etc.
• New sustainable architectural materials and designs will be needed to accommodate heavy cleaning, safe air
circulation, and other safety requirements
Smaller towns and cities are also luring companies
and workers with technological advancements such as
smart city infrastructure, expanding broadband, and
free Wi-Fi. India’s Prime Minister recently announced
that every Indian village (around 600,000) will be
connected with optical fiber by 2023. Financial and
technological incentives could lead to the creation of
new skilled-worker hubs, breaking the geographic
strong-hold for some industries.
COVID-19 will accelerate the decentralization
of industry-specific geographic hubs
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Remote work, as a result
of COVID-19, is leading to
productivity gains and savings
Over the past four to five months, many employers
worldwide have realized that the benefits of remote
work outweigh the drawbacks, especially in terms
of productivity, with U.S. remote workers reporting
higher levels of job satisfaction as well. In a survey
covering the U.S., Germany, and India, around 75% of
employees said that during the first few months of the
pandemic they have been able to maintain or improve
productivity on their individual tasks. On collaborative
tasks including exchanges with co-workers, working in
teams, and interacting with clients, more than half of
all respondents said they have been able to maintain
or improve their productivity.
This has been even more pronounced in the tech
sector, where 85% of software and IT workers said they
can be individually effective when working remotely,
while 82% felt the entire industry could be effective.
More flexible work arrangements are also leading
to new work paradigms. Companies could put more
emphasis on the employees’ flexibility to work in two
or more time zone locations—start your day with three
hours of collaborating with the Bangalore team and log
back in to hold meetings with customers in California—
increasing productivity and employee satisfaction.
There are also cost savings to be had with remote
work relationships. A typical employer can save
about $11,000 per year for every person who works
remotely half of the time. Employees who choose
to work from home at least half-time could save
between $2,500 and $4,000 a year, thanks to reduced
transportation, parking, and food costs.
Remote Work is a Win-win
for Employers and Employees
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Virtual meetings now start by checking on how
employees are doing and feeling. Many companies are
providing the resources and technologies needed to
make employees comfortable and productive at home.
Some firms are even offering financial coaching and
reviewing retirement benefits.
The Clutch report found that employers are actively
looking for ways to assist employees as they deal with
the challenges of working remotely. Of the employees
surveyed, 57% stated they are receiving additional
mental and emotional support from their company
during the pandemic; flexible scheduling (28%) and
advice on remote work (23%) are the most common
options.
Prior to the pandemic, depression and anxiety
cost the global economy USD 1 trillion per year in
lost productivity and this is expected to rise as the
pandemic adds additional pressures to workers. At the
end of March and early April 2020, Mind Share Partners
conducted a study of global employees in partnership
with Qualtrics and SAP. They found that the mental
health of almost 42% of respondents had declined
since the outbreak began, with nearly 33% reporting
their productivity has declined since the outbreak.
Results like these are requiring companies to look
for new ways to support their workforce, even those
who already had mental health programs in place.
Chevron, a long-time advocate of employee mental
and physical health, has expanded their employee
resources and company-wide campaigns during
the pandemic. Starbucks, Ginger.io, Unmind, and
Talkspace are some of the other major companies
offering additional mental health therapy and coaching
services to employees during the pandemic. In addition
to expanding it’s current wellness offerings, HP has
pioneered theme days such as Motivation Mondays,
Well-being Wednesday, and Family and Friends Fun
Fridays, in an effort to help employees cope with
stress during these times. Other workplaces like EY are
offering live daily workouts, free mediation courses,
additional time off, and self-care videos. In fact, more
than half of the 256 employers surveyed by the
National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions
are providing special emotional and mental health
programs for their workforce due to the
COVID-19 outbreak.
Employers are focused on their employees’ physical
and mental well-being now more than ever
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Home office stipends and delivered
lunches will become a common
workplace perk
In order to provide a suitable working environment at
home, companies such as Google, Twitter, and Shopify are
providing allowances for home office equipment—such as
standing desks, ergonomic work furniture, and lighting—in
addition to paying for their Internet access.
Several companies have made its weekly team lunches
virtual—with food delivered to employees’ homes.
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Research found that a workplace culture with “trust”
as its core foundation improves productivity, employee
retention, and ultimately company revenue. Building
trust between leadership and employees is not about
creating compliance measures and practices, but
instead it involves investing in training managers to
become better leaders.
Yet according to an Gartner survey, 16% of
organizations are passively tracking employees via
methods like virtual clocking in and out, tracking work
computer usage, and monitoring employee email or
internal communications, such as chat applications.
This type of monitoring can cause employees to feel
like their privacy is being violated and may result in
them leaving the organization and sharing their views
with others both internally and externally. This type
of oversight also stifles innovation and signals that
the company does not trust them, which decreases
motivation and productivity.
Employee morale and privacy will be among the
challenges human resources (HR) teams face as
employees deal with more monitoring technologies
and invasive measures, such as filling out health
surveys and disclosing pre-existing conditions.
HR will need to put new programs in place to better
equip and train managers to build trust and focus
on results over simply tracking time. HP is actively
retraining managers to handle remote workers
better, focusing on stronger productivity metrics and
regular feedback. To maintain a sense of structure,
employers will have to set some expectations for
when they need everyone in the office, online for staff
meetings, and other team activities, but this should
be implemented in a way that reinforces company
culture. Google’s research on what makes an effective
team put a spotlight on the combined importance of
culture, expectations, and results, with safety and trust
creating the foundation by which a team performs and
succeeds together.
Additionally, in order to create a balance between work
time and personal time, employees and managers will
have to work closely together to ensure that no one is
feeling pressured to respond to email and messages
at all hours of the day. Loomly, a collaboration
software platform, encourages employees to clearly
communicate when they are working and not, and asks
others to respect that.
Setting clear expectations and showing employees
respect will help bolster trust for the long-term.
A more remote workforce will increase the importance
of trust between employers and employees - setting clear
expectations around availability and deliverables
Research has found that a workplace culture
with “trust” as its core foundation improves
productivity, employee retention and
ultimately company revenue.
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Post pandemic scenario
Collaborative experiences
• Virtual meeting platforms could offer work from home services/goods such as virtual work wardrobes or
cosmetic make overs
• AI could remove or mask unexpected home office intruders such as children, pets, or spouses during
• virtual meetings
• Enterprise ‘super apps’ could combine email, video conferencing, chat, productivity, storage, digital assets
etc. into one platform
• For companies with hybrid remote and in-person work models, offices and small conference rooms could be
converted into video chat spaces
• Quick service restaurants, such as coffee shops, could become the ‘third place’ office providing meeting
spaces, video chat booths, and co-working spaces
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43% of employers reported they
will grant employees flex days
Source: Gartner
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Remote work and the impacts of COVID-19 are a double-edged
sword for working parents, particularly women
Traditionally, remote jobs have come with more flexible schedules, which means that workers can start and end
their day as they choose, if their work is completed, and it leads to strong outcomes.
As a result of the pandemic, more professionals are now juggling the demands of work and home life all in the
same place, resulting in more companies offering flex days and flex hours as they allow employees to work
remotely moving forward. In fact, a Gartner survey found that 43% of respondents reported they will grant
employees flex days, while 42% will provide flex hours.
This change in workplace structure could have a bigger toll on working moms, as they are disproportionately
impacted by the pandemic exacerbated by the current childcare crisis. Not only are working moms balancing a
plethora of responsibilities, both at home and work, they are also fearing for their jobs—with 60% of the jobs
eliminated in the first wave of pandemic—induced layoffs being held by women, with single moms being hit the
hardest.
Remote work may also provide people who may have a hard time finding steady employment at an onsite job,
such as those with disabilities or caregivers who need a flexible schedule, the opportunity to follow their career
goals without having to worry about commuting back and forth to an office, especially in megacities such as New
York City where only one out of every four subway stations is accessible for people with disabilities.
Remote Work May Offer Employees
New Opportunities and Challenges
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COVID-19 has accelerated
digital transformation
As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in April, because of COVID-19
“we have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two
months.” Companies may find digital solutions and coaching apps to
be more cost-effective compared to in-person options, and may look to
allocate more of their budget to these products.
CIOs are insisting that digitization efforts accelerate to not only manage and
emerge from this crisis, but also to attain a competitive advantage. The need for
tighter collaboration between the CIO, head of HR, and head of facilities to accelerate
digital transformation in their processes is more evident now than ever.
The pandemic has been a technological equalizer of sorts, where people previously unaccustomed to using tech
tools in the workplace have had no choice but to adapt. In some cases, workers are becoming more efficient.
COVID-19 is accelerating the adoption
of automation in customer support
With automation leveraging robotic process automation (RPA) and machine
learning in digital transformation, the future of IT technicians are programmers.
COVID-19 uncovered gaps in the current contact center model, as training a large
group of customer support agents to deliver accurate answers in a rapidly
changing environment is not feasible while also ensuring quality of service
and experiences.
A major airline built an RPA “bot” in just six days with the bot being
able to address 80% of the airline’s cancellation requests, or about
4,000 per day. That amount of work would typically require around
200 full-time employees and the RPA solution costs 30% of what it
would cost to hire new workers.
In addition to cybersecurity spending being a top IT priority
this year, around 55% of major organizations will boost their
investments in automation solutions as well.
The Digitization of the
Virtual Workplace
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From marketing to customer support, enterprises must
now bridge end-to-end business processes and end-
to-end customer experiences between back and front
offices. Emerging low-code and no-code interfaces
will accelerate the development and integration of
automated processes in the customer journey to more
positively shape customer experiences.
COVID-19 is now serving as an inflection point for
digital transformation, with RPA and chatbots ensuring
business continuity across industries despite the huge
spike in claims and queries accelerated by COVID-19
(particularly in the travel, leisure, entertainment, and
hospitality industries). RPA spend is forecasted to reach
$25 billion by 2025 (compared to $3.6 billion today),
and by the end of 2022, 85% of large organizations
will have deployed some form of RPA.
Virtual voice assistants could become the new interface
for the first point of contact in customer support
and engagement. In April, Google launched Rapid
Response Virtual Agent, a special version of its Contact
Center Artificial Intelligence, and lowered the price of its
service in response to client demand. Orbita launched
Industries are looking to technology and automation
to future-proof their business
an interactive voice and text chatbot for healthcare
organizations that can educate the public and assist
in triage. Apple’s Siri now walks users through the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19
assessment questions and makes recommendations
based on their responses.
While RPA can be a game-changer, it has its own set of
limitations, which involve subjective decision making,
processing different incoming formats for data fed in,
and human judgment. To achieve optimum results with
RPA, organizations need to take an iterative approach
as they cannot perfect automation after a twelve-
month development cycle. In order to be successful
with automation using RPAs, companies need to
understand the key use cases and business processes
that can be optimized by existing workflows and
availability of rich structured data.
Companies need to establish alignment and
expectations across the workforce so that employees
do not fear losing their jobs once automation is
integrated across several touch points within the
organization.
Virtual voice assistants could
become the new interface for the
first point of contact in customer
support and engagement
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As companies provide more
employees with remote work
computers and access to email on
personal mobile devices, the need
to build heightened cybersecurity
will become mandatory.
Cybercriminals will continue to
accelerate their efforts against
remote workers as they know
many are working remotely for
the first time—often with insecure
network connections (e.g., weak
passwords), less secure hardware,
and inadequate IT support. They
also know remote work comes with
a slew of distractions, especially for
working parents, which contribute
to higher email click rates and, by
extension, higher rates of
cyber infection.
Over the last four years, companies
and individuals lost an estimated
$26B from a combination of
business email compromise
and email account compromise
schemes. 63% of cyber incidents
are caused directly by employees—
through accidental disclosure,
social engineering scams,
inadvertent ransomware infection,
and even malicious intentional
behaviour. According to the Nucleus
Cyber 2019 Insider Threat Report,
70% of organizations are seeing
insider attacks more frequently,
with 60% experiencing at least
one attack within the past twelve
months—and that is pre-COVID.
A more remote workforce will necessitate an acceleration of
global cybersecurity spending, as 2020 has already been a
banner year for cybersecurity attacks
In May 2020, the weekly average
rate of invoice and payment fraud
attacks spiked 200%, with 36%
more organizations experiencing
these kinds of attacks, according to
Abnormal Security. Approximately
91% of businesses reported an
increase in cyberattacks with
employees working from home,
with COVID-19-inspired malware
witnessing the highest jump
across the globe. Business email
compromise, where attackers
impersonate a corporate email
address to fraudulently redirect
funds, continues to be one of
the most common forms of
cyberattacks and takes on
several forms.
With more employees working
online, companies will need to
prioritize safeguarding business
operations and sensitive
information to avoid major financial
and reputational consequences.
As the makers of the world’s most
secure PCs, HP computers already
include a number of cybersecurity
innovations that can help ensure
a more secure remote workforce.
Companies such as Garmin know
the significant strain these attacks
can have on their business and
customers. Early detection and
remediation have real cost benefits,
with companies reducing costs per
attack by 72%, translating to $6M
in annual savings.
Already nearly three out of four
business leaders see cybersecurity
as a top priority in COVID-19
recovery. COVID-19 has heightened
awareness of cyberthreats among
businesses and more than two
thirds of organizations (68%), both
private and public, are planning
to increase their cybersecurity
budgets.
The global cybersecurity spend
is forecasted to be $173B in
2020, but with the advent of the
COVID-19 pandemic, it may well
now exceed that figure.
91% of businesses reported an
increase in cyberattacks with
employees working from home
Source: VMware Carbon Black
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Post pandemic scenario
The role of technology in HR and recruiting
• New AI and Robot policies will need to be adopted by corporations to avoid privacy and ethics HR issues
• AI could help employees and contractors wade through legal and financial jargon when evaluating offer
letters, non-disclosure agreements, and benefits plans
• Workforce rating platforms integrated with AI and machine learning recommendation engines, could be the
new referral in hiring a talented workforce
• Potential recruits could use the same platform to assess work environment, corporate culture, management
ratings, and more
• Blockchain technology could be used for smart contracts and payments with contractors and gig workers
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It’s clear that COVID-19’s impact on work will be long-lived. With remote workers expected to continue to
work from home during the pandemic, and likely beyond in some capacity, what, where, and how we work will
continue to be transformed. A changing workforce may lead to new converging trends as remote workers and gig
workers start to look more alike, offering companies and workers new opportunities and challenges.
Where workers reside is likely to move farther from corporate and industry epicenters requiring employers to
explore new flexible office, training, and collaboration models. It will also spur companies to offer market rate
salaries based on employee location, the winners of the talent war being companies offering new flexible work
options and tapping into digital advancements.
From automating processes and workflows, to protecting corporate assets and remote workers from growing
cyberattacks, technology innovation will fuel the future of work and allow companies to quickly adapt. So,
whatever the next pandemic, unplanned disruption, or cosmic curveball thrown the corporate way, today and
tomorrow’s innovations will help companies future-proof their business and be ready.
In Summary
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Appendix
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Some of the key assumptions considered in developing
the scenarios mentioned below are that countries,
economies, and societies are not expected to return to
pre-pandemic normalcy until the end of 2021; and the
two-dose COVID-19 vaccine will not be made available
for everyone globally until 2024. These factors lead
to a scenario that will require existing remote workers
to continue to work from their homes and non-office
locations, as frontline healthcare and essential workers
are prioritized to receive the preliminary vaccine shots.
It is still unknown how much corporations will be
willing to accommodate ‘non-essential’ employees
at office locations, apart from costs associated with
retrofitting offices to incorporate social distancing,
during an economic downturn.
Real Estate and
Financial Impacts
• Companies will consolidate their commercial
real estate as 'working from home' becomes the
new norm, especially in Tier-1 cities, potentially
resulting in a plummet in the enterprise real-estate
market.
• Companies will move away from traditional ten-
year leases opting for shorter commitments,
flexible leases, or coworking space.
• Companies will explore repurposing the enterprise
buildings they own to become coworking spaces
for multiple companies and start-ups, subsidized
child care programs, incubation/accelerator/
innovation hubs, and even event and conference
venues, with social distancing being reinforced in
the building designs.
• Tech companies with a huge real-estate footprint
could repurpose their space by providing
subsidized housing along with other amenities
pertaining to sustainability, healthcare, education,
and wellness for its employees, thereby creating an
integrated township fostering its work culture.
• Companies will provide leasing program or
allowances for office furniture, as well as reimburse
employees for broadband and cell phone charges if
working from home becomes permanent.
• If full-time work from home becomes the norm,
companies could even finance the new home down
payments for recruits and star talent as part of its
long-term retention strategy.
• Adoption of “water cooler apps” to foster
impromptu interactions will be on the rise, while
some companies, retailers, hotels, restaurants, and
coffee-shops will look to repurpose commercial
spaces not only for coworking, but also for grocery
shopping, fitness centers, takeout restaurants,
child care programs, and recreational centers,
thereby enabling employees to get to know their
colleagues in a more personal and casual way,
which they currently miss out on by not being in
the office.
• In shared spaces, expect more touchless fixtures,
such as door sensors, automatic sinks, and soap
dispensers. Virtual voice assistants could become
the new interface in buildings and remove the need
for physically pushing a button in an elevator or
touching a surface in an office.
• Office buildings of the future may become places
to gather for meetings and corporate events,
while focused work is done remotely. Hence, many
companies are expected to adopt the hub-and-
spoke model in the future.
• Architects may also design spaces with durable
building materials for furniture, flooring, and other
surfaces so they can withstand frequent deep
cleaning for the foreseeable future.
Post Pandemic Scenarios
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Devices
• Sensors on laptop cameras could be leveraged to
track worker temperatures before they login to
corporate networks or enter office premises.
• AI, biometrics, and sensor data from laptops could,
with employee permission, be used to better
understand stress levels, work-related fatigue, and
other job-related health concerns.
• The use of facial recognition for work could expand
beyond applications like Windows Hello, to rapidly
detect if someone unauthorized is using the laptop
when people work remotely. An example of that
type of usage would be BlackBerry Persona.
• Laptop speakers and headsets could adopt
technology such as “background noise
suppression” to help alleviate or eliminate work
from home noises. For example, BabbleLabs,
recently acquired by Cisco, developed noise
suppression technology that distinguishes speech
from background noise and removes background
noise in real time, while enhancing the voice to
elevate communication, regardless of language.
• With most work from home employees requiring
both a laptop and monitor to do their work,
expect to see a variety of computing devices and
applications that are optimised for high-bandwidth
video applications and collaboration, with the
ability to easily stream content from Over-the-Top
(OTT) applications and services via Wi-Fi and 5G
aggregation and edge computing.
• Augmented reality and virtual reality companies
such as Nimo Planet and Spatial could provide
remote workers with immersive experiences while
they collaborate.
• Additional security and safety features, such as the
ones HP recently launched, will need to continue to
be built into devices to accommodate
remote workers.
Collaborative Experiences
• Virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom and
Microsoft Teams could offer work from home
services/goods such as virtual work wardrobes or
cosmetic makeovers via a freemium model.
• AI could remove or mask unexpected home office
intruders such as children, pets, or housemates
during virtual meetings.
• The enterprise version of “super apps” could
emerge wherein you use just one platform
for email, Instant messaging, calendar, video
conferencing, storage, work collaboration, and
even an enterprise digital wallet for banking,
instant payments, and to store employees’
enterprise tokens and digital assets.
• To accommodate teams that might have some
members working remotely and others coming
into the office, “Zoom rooms” may become fixtures
of the COVID-19 workplace, turning smaller
conference rooms into video chat spaces.
Coworking Hotspots
• Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) and cafes such
as Starbucks could become the “third place” office
providing meeting spaces, video chat booths, and
co-working spaces. This would allow companies
to take advantage of spaces which would have
otherwise been vacant.
• QSRs and cafes could be the WeWork of the future
by leveraging their brand and existing install base
of outlets worldwide and scaling it further to
support next generation technologies and new
experiences.
• McDonalds, Starbucks, and Subway are reportedly
among nineteen restaurants and retail shops that
are involved in testing China’s central bank digital
currency.
• Employees could use their enterprise tokens/
digital assets or enterprise loyalty points/cards, in
QSRs and cafes to print/scan content, use meeting
rooms/booths in addition to buying meals.
29
The Role of AI in HR Policies
and Recruiting
• New AI and robot policies will need to be adopted
by corporations to avoid privacy and ethics
HR issues. Higher unemployment rates might
necessitate increasing the retirement age for the
rising aging population to older than seventy years.
Corporate policies around workforce surveillance,
privacy issues, and ethics could be an additional
deciding factor for workers considering new jobs
and projects.
• The workforce could also leverage AI to peruse
the terms and conditions of a potential employer.
For instance, if the employer has a lengthy offer
letter filled with legal and financial jargon that the
employee is having a hard time understanding,
the employee could use a personal assistant
(paying a subscription or one-time fee) to peruse
the document and get valuable insights such as
“Luke, the employer will only provide you a bonus
if the company meets stakeholders expectations
of a higher EPS and 2% revenue growth for every
quarter in the fiscal year and not calendar year.” Or:
“Luke, did you know that this company provides the
best healthcare plan and benefits compared to all
other companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and
they even cover medication and treatment costs
pertaining to COVID-19?”
• Workforce rating platforms integrated with AI and
machine learning recommendation engines could
be the new referral in hiring a talented workforce.
These platforms could be maintained on a global
corporate blockchain that would validate academic
certifications, work experience, promotions,
employee recommendations, and more. As a
result, this will save companies both time and
money on background checks and conducting
preliminary interviews.
• Potential recruits could also use the same platform
before accepting the offer or signing off the project
contract, to assess work environment, corporate
culture, management ratings, and more.
Hardware and Software
• Workforce “engagement embedded sensors” and
software installed on laptops, wearables, and
mobile devices could be in high demand to ensure
that employees are fully engaged during a video
call with real-time alerts sent to managers in case
their staff were to view irrelevant content, like
watching Facebook or Twitter, during a meeting
or if unauthorized people are viewing enterprise
content on the same laptop or other client devices.
• Employees working on highly confidential
client data could also be required to switch
on surveillance smart cameras, provided by
companies, while they work. This could be the
first level of authentication to accessing corporate
information, databases, products, and services
in private locations, in addition to biometric
authentication, which will eradicate the need to
input passwords. These implementations could
potentially mitigate trust issues especially when
closing deals with third parties, vendors,
and partners.
Gig Economy
• Countries with a huge STEM population and dense
talent pool, such as India and Eastern Europe,
could stand to benefit the most in the global gig
economy where the workforce will be further
decentralized. HR policies will need to further
transform to align with government regulations
and local employee compensation requirements.
• Companies could use blockchain technology to
pay their global gig workers once a project is
completed, either in Crypto or CBDC or
fiat currency.
• Smart contracts on the blockchain could potentially
replace intermediaries, lawyers, recruiters, etc. in a
gig marketplace, saving both time and money.
30
IT-as-a-Service
• The role of IT support services in the future of
work could be decentralized, automated, and
outsourced, with companies providing their
customers and partners with market and country-
specific software tools and resources, as well as
on-demand access to a growing library of virtual
training options, cybersecurity support, and
enhanced 24/7 customer support bundled with
their products and services.
Digital Transformation
• As automation continues to advance in various
industries, humans will focus on innovation,
creativity, and problem solving.
• As a result, this will reduce the demand for
low-skill and low-wage jobs with governments
creating income transfer programs based either
on Universal Basic Income, Universal Basic Assets,
or others. If nothing is done, the social gap will
continue to widen dramatically in the future from
where it is today.
New Technology
• Companies will explore the latest wireless
broadband technology for remote workers in areas
experiencing unreliable broadband connectivity¬–
especially in emerging markets. For example, Bill
Gates recently led a new $85 million funding round
for Kymeta as the company prepares to launch a
new hybrid satellite-cellular antenna and mobile
internet service for government and industry use.
• Companies could also leverage blockchain
technology for the used and refurbished market
in emerging nations where laptops, printers, and
other consumer electronic devices can not only be
sold at lucrative prices, but also provide assurance
to end users that the company has authorized the
refurbished device and it is tamperproof.
Reskilling and Well-being
• Companies will shape HR policies for gig workers
worldwide and advocate instant payments–
using technologies such as Ripplenet–on project
completion.
• A lot of emphasis will be placed on reskilling and
training employees into new growth opportunities
in urban tech.
• For companies adopting full-time work-from-
home policies, benefits programs could expand
to include online psychologists and counselors for
employees struggling with juggling work and home
life responsibilities.
• Technology companies might also consider a
COVID-19 hotline for employees struggling with
extreme mental health challenges, domestic
violence, and abuse while working remotely.
• Many companies will pilot a healthcare app for
their employees similar to Amazon Care that offer
health advice, virtual medical visits, and in-person
support via a health professional that shows up at
an employee’s home.
31
32
For questions
contact HP Labs at:
labs.reports@hp.com

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The Future of Work Report | Andrew Bowell, Chief Disrupter, HP

  • 1. 1 The Future of Work An HP Labs Report
  • 2. 2 This report was developed by HP Labs. HP Labs mission is to identify, create and develop technologies and experiences that delight customers and define the future of HP. The research, inventions, and incubations that come out of HP Labs are based on global trends, emerging technologies, and market insights, that enable HP to expand its existing business focus, as well as open up entirely new market opportunities. ©2020 HP Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. 2
  • 3. 3 Contents Introduction The Wherever Office COVID-19 is accelerating the adoption of remote working and transforming the meaning of workplace Remote work could spur move to ex- urbs and secondary cities COVID-19 will lead to a gradual reduction in the office footprint COVID-19 will accelerate the decentralization of industry-specific geographic hubs Post pandemic scenario Remote Work is a Win-win for Employers and Employees Remote work, as a result of COVID-19, is leading to productivity gains and savings Employers are focused on their employees’ physical and mental well- being now more than ever Home office stipends and delivered lunches will become a common workplace perk A more remote workforce will increase the importance of trust between employers and employees – setting clear expectations around availability and deliverables Post pandemic scenario Remote Work May Offer Employees New Opportunities and Challenges Remote work and the impacts of COVID-19 are a double-edged sword for working parents, particularly women The Digitization of The Virtual Workplace COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation COVID-19 is accelerating the adoption of automation in customer support Industries are looking to technology and automation to future-proof their business A more remote workforce will necessitate an acceleration of global cybersecurity spending, as 2020 has already been a banner year for cybersecurity attacks Post pandemic scenario In Summary Appendix 4 6 6 7 8 9 9 11 11 12 13 14 15 17 17 19 19 19 20 21 22 24 26
  • 4. 4 COVID-19 has impacted virtually every aspect of our lives. From healthcare, to the economy, education, travel, retail, and more. The rapid spread of the virus forced businesses around the world to adjust and transform practically overnight. Non-essential workers who could, were forced to work from home, creating instant remote workforces and turning corporate policies and IT infrastructures on their head. Remote workers scrambled to set-up optimal home offices, adjust to online collaboration and meetings, and find a new workday flow, one that included spouses and children who were also working and learning remotely. While some people have returned to the office in recent months, at least part-time, recent spikes in COVID-19 infections have companies assessing if remote working should be a more permanent strategy, or if a hybrid model—combining remote and co-located work—may be the future of work. As the world braces for the second wave of COVID-19, this report will provide key trends and insights on what the future of work could look like during and post COVID-19. The Future of Work
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  • 6. 6 COVID-19 is accelerating the adoption of remote working and transforming the meaning of workplace A survey from Buffer in 2019 found that only 30% of companies surveyed were fully remote workforces, with only 20% having at least half their company remote. Fast forward to 2020 where most U.S. companies have shifted nearly their entire “non- essential” workforce to remote as COVID-19 spread. This sudden experiment in remote workforces has proven predominantly positive for companies and employees, leading to corporate executives seeing remote work as a standard part of business practice going forward. A recent Gartner survey found that 82% of company leaders would allow employees to continue working remotely some of the time, with nearly half (47%) finding it reasonable to allow employees to work remotely full-time going forward. The Wherever Office Global Workplace Analytics estimates that about 75 million U.S. employees could work-from-home at least part of the time with 25-30% of the U.S. workforce working at home on a multiple-days-a-week basis by the end of 2021. This aligns with PWC survey findings that 72% of office workers would like to work remotely at least two days a week, even after the pandemic ends. Could this shift in workplace location have a broader impact on both commercial and residential real estate? 6 72% of office workers would like to work remotely at least two days per week Source: PWC
  • 7. 7 With the rise of remote work comes space and location considerations, as more remote workers weigh the size and functional layouts of their homes. A Zillow and Harris Poll survey found that only 46% of American homes have a spare bedroom that could be used as an office space, with that number dropping by ten or more points in dense, more expensive metro areas like New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The same survey found that nearly a third of U.S. workers would consider moving in order to have a home with a dedicated office space (31%), to live in a larger home (30%), and to live in a home with more rooms (29%). This exodus is already occurring in the San Francisco Bay Area where nearly 15% of the 3,300 tech workers surveyed have left the region since the outbreak of COVID-19. Among Facebook employees, 40% said they were interested in full-time remote work, and among that subset of employees, 75% said they were either pretty confident or they might move to a different city if they could work remotely. Remote work is a great way to avoid high-rent and high-mortgage areas, as well as traffic congestion, pollution, and overcrowding, making a move to secondary cities more attractive to today’s growing virtual workforce. Remote work could spur move to exurbs and secondary cities
  • 8. 8 COVID-19 will lead to a gradual reduction in the office footprint COVID-19 is also having a tremendous impact on commercial real estate. According to the National Association of Realtors, commercial sales among REALTORS® fell 5% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020. Sales prices were also down by 3%, leasing volume fell by 4%, and construction was down 5%. Looking ahead, they expect commercial vacancy rates to continue to hover at 15% and remain elevated until employment gets back to pre- pandemic levels. Even prior to the pandemic, companies were desperate to shed costs. They discovered they could do more with less real estate as studies repeatedly show employees are not at their desk 50-60% of the time. Now faced with a slowing economy, changing customer behaviors, and success with remote workers, companies may be even further inclined to shed office space. In May, CBRE predicted an approximate 7% drop in office rents per square foot from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. Twitter recently listed 104,850 square feet of its San Francisco headquarters for sublease, while Pinterest spent $89.5 million to terminate their San Francisco office lease. With more people working remotely, companies may open regional hubs or provide access to co-working spaces wherever their workers are concentrated rather than have most of their workforce at one central office. REI, for example, has decided to sell its brand-new headquarters in Seattle before even moving into the space. Instead they will open a few smaller offices and allow employees to continue to work remotely. McKinsey research indicates that this may be a trend, with office-space decision makers expecting the percentage of time worked in main and satellite offices to decline by 12% and 9%, respectively, while flex office space—a single space used for multiple purposes—work would be about the same, and remote work will increase to 27%. The days of big corporate headquarter campuses may be numbered if these trends hold.
  • 9. 9 As employees move farther from central office locations, a natural dispersion of industry geographic hubs may also occur. Companies as well as smaller towns and cities around the world are offering financial incentives for employees to relocate. For example, Zapier offers their employees a $10,000 bonus to move out of the expensive San Francisco Bay Area. Tulsa, Oklahoma, who has also been offering a cash incentive to lure remote workers to the city since 2018, saw their applications double in the first two months of the pandemic. Post pandemic scenario Real estate and financial impact • Companies will consolidate their commercial real estate • Companies will move to shorter leases and coworking space options • Commercial buildings owned will be repurposed into multi-company co-working spaces, day care, event venues etc. • Large corporate campuses could be turned into subsidized housing • Employee office furniture lease programs and equipment stipends will be common • Home mortgage down payments could be used to attract star talent • Hotels and restaurants could be transformed into popup offices or rentable spaces • Shared spaces will become contactless spaces, with door sensors, touchless surfaces, touch-free printing, and voice interfaces • Offices that remain could adopt hub and spoke models, used just for ad hoc meetings, corporate events etc. • New sustainable architectural materials and designs will be needed to accommodate heavy cleaning, safe air circulation, and other safety requirements Smaller towns and cities are also luring companies and workers with technological advancements such as smart city infrastructure, expanding broadband, and free Wi-Fi. India’s Prime Minister recently announced that every Indian village (around 600,000) will be connected with optical fiber by 2023. Financial and technological incentives could lead to the creation of new skilled-worker hubs, breaking the geographic strong-hold for some industries. COVID-19 will accelerate the decentralization of industry-specific geographic hubs 9
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  • 11. 11 Remote work, as a result of COVID-19, is leading to productivity gains and savings Over the past four to five months, many employers worldwide have realized that the benefits of remote work outweigh the drawbacks, especially in terms of productivity, with U.S. remote workers reporting higher levels of job satisfaction as well. In a survey covering the U.S., Germany, and India, around 75% of employees said that during the first few months of the pandemic they have been able to maintain or improve productivity on their individual tasks. On collaborative tasks including exchanges with co-workers, working in teams, and interacting with clients, more than half of all respondents said they have been able to maintain or improve their productivity. This has been even more pronounced in the tech sector, where 85% of software and IT workers said they can be individually effective when working remotely, while 82% felt the entire industry could be effective. More flexible work arrangements are also leading to new work paradigms. Companies could put more emphasis on the employees’ flexibility to work in two or more time zone locations—start your day with three hours of collaborating with the Bangalore team and log back in to hold meetings with customers in California— increasing productivity and employee satisfaction. There are also cost savings to be had with remote work relationships. A typical employer can save about $11,000 per year for every person who works remotely half of the time. Employees who choose to work from home at least half-time could save between $2,500 and $4,000 a year, thanks to reduced transportation, parking, and food costs. Remote Work is a Win-win for Employers and Employees
  • 12. 12 Virtual meetings now start by checking on how employees are doing and feeling. Many companies are providing the resources and technologies needed to make employees comfortable and productive at home. Some firms are even offering financial coaching and reviewing retirement benefits. The Clutch report found that employers are actively looking for ways to assist employees as they deal with the challenges of working remotely. Of the employees surveyed, 57% stated they are receiving additional mental and emotional support from their company during the pandemic; flexible scheduling (28%) and advice on remote work (23%) are the most common options. Prior to the pandemic, depression and anxiety cost the global economy USD 1 trillion per year in lost productivity and this is expected to rise as the pandemic adds additional pressures to workers. At the end of March and early April 2020, Mind Share Partners conducted a study of global employees in partnership with Qualtrics and SAP. They found that the mental health of almost 42% of respondents had declined since the outbreak began, with nearly 33% reporting their productivity has declined since the outbreak. Results like these are requiring companies to look for new ways to support their workforce, even those who already had mental health programs in place. Chevron, a long-time advocate of employee mental and physical health, has expanded their employee resources and company-wide campaigns during the pandemic. Starbucks, Ginger.io, Unmind, and Talkspace are some of the other major companies offering additional mental health therapy and coaching services to employees during the pandemic. In addition to expanding it’s current wellness offerings, HP has pioneered theme days such as Motivation Mondays, Well-being Wednesday, and Family and Friends Fun Fridays, in an effort to help employees cope with stress during these times. Other workplaces like EY are offering live daily workouts, free mediation courses, additional time off, and self-care videos. In fact, more than half of the 256 employers surveyed by the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions are providing special emotional and mental health programs for their workforce due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Employers are focused on their employees’ physical and mental well-being now more than ever
  • 13. 13 Home office stipends and delivered lunches will become a common workplace perk In order to provide a suitable working environment at home, companies such as Google, Twitter, and Shopify are providing allowances for home office equipment—such as standing desks, ergonomic work furniture, and lighting—in addition to paying for their Internet access. Several companies have made its weekly team lunches virtual—with food delivered to employees’ homes.
  • 14. 14 Research found that a workplace culture with “trust” as its core foundation improves productivity, employee retention, and ultimately company revenue. Building trust between leadership and employees is not about creating compliance measures and practices, but instead it involves investing in training managers to become better leaders. Yet according to an Gartner survey, 16% of organizations are passively tracking employees via methods like virtual clocking in and out, tracking work computer usage, and monitoring employee email or internal communications, such as chat applications. This type of monitoring can cause employees to feel like their privacy is being violated and may result in them leaving the organization and sharing their views with others both internally and externally. This type of oversight also stifles innovation and signals that the company does not trust them, which decreases motivation and productivity. Employee morale and privacy will be among the challenges human resources (HR) teams face as employees deal with more monitoring technologies and invasive measures, such as filling out health surveys and disclosing pre-existing conditions. HR will need to put new programs in place to better equip and train managers to build trust and focus on results over simply tracking time. HP is actively retraining managers to handle remote workers better, focusing on stronger productivity metrics and regular feedback. To maintain a sense of structure, employers will have to set some expectations for when they need everyone in the office, online for staff meetings, and other team activities, but this should be implemented in a way that reinforces company culture. Google’s research on what makes an effective team put a spotlight on the combined importance of culture, expectations, and results, with safety and trust creating the foundation by which a team performs and succeeds together. Additionally, in order to create a balance between work time and personal time, employees and managers will have to work closely together to ensure that no one is feeling pressured to respond to email and messages at all hours of the day. Loomly, a collaboration software platform, encourages employees to clearly communicate when they are working and not, and asks others to respect that. Setting clear expectations and showing employees respect will help bolster trust for the long-term. A more remote workforce will increase the importance of trust between employers and employees - setting clear expectations around availability and deliverables Research has found that a workplace culture with “trust” as its core foundation improves productivity, employee retention and ultimately company revenue.
  • 15. 15 Post pandemic scenario Collaborative experiences • Virtual meeting platforms could offer work from home services/goods such as virtual work wardrobes or cosmetic make overs • AI could remove or mask unexpected home office intruders such as children, pets, or spouses during • virtual meetings • Enterprise ‘super apps’ could combine email, video conferencing, chat, productivity, storage, digital assets etc. into one platform • For companies with hybrid remote and in-person work models, offices and small conference rooms could be converted into video chat spaces • Quick service restaurants, such as coffee shops, could become the ‘third place’ office providing meeting spaces, video chat booths, and co-working spaces 15
  • 16. 16 16 43% of employers reported they will grant employees flex days Source: Gartner
  • 17. 17 Remote work and the impacts of COVID-19 are a double-edged sword for working parents, particularly women Traditionally, remote jobs have come with more flexible schedules, which means that workers can start and end their day as they choose, if their work is completed, and it leads to strong outcomes. As a result of the pandemic, more professionals are now juggling the demands of work and home life all in the same place, resulting in more companies offering flex days and flex hours as they allow employees to work remotely moving forward. In fact, a Gartner survey found that 43% of respondents reported they will grant employees flex days, while 42% will provide flex hours. This change in workplace structure could have a bigger toll on working moms, as they are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic exacerbated by the current childcare crisis. Not only are working moms balancing a plethora of responsibilities, both at home and work, they are also fearing for their jobs—with 60% of the jobs eliminated in the first wave of pandemic—induced layoffs being held by women, with single moms being hit the hardest. Remote work may also provide people who may have a hard time finding steady employment at an onsite job, such as those with disabilities or caregivers who need a flexible schedule, the opportunity to follow their career goals without having to worry about commuting back and forth to an office, especially in megacities such as New York City where only one out of every four subway stations is accessible for people with disabilities. Remote Work May Offer Employees New Opportunities and Challenges
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  • 19. 19 COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in April, because of COVID-19 “we have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” Companies may find digital solutions and coaching apps to be more cost-effective compared to in-person options, and may look to allocate more of their budget to these products. CIOs are insisting that digitization efforts accelerate to not only manage and emerge from this crisis, but also to attain a competitive advantage. The need for tighter collaboration between the CIO, head of HR, and head of facilities to accelerate digital transformation in their processes is more evident now than ever. The pandemic has been a technological equalizer of sorts, where people previously unaccustomed to using tech tools in the workplace have had no choice but to adapt. In some cases, workers are becoming more efficient. COVID-19 is accelerating the adoption of automation in customer support With automation leveraging robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning in digital transformation, the future of IT technicians are programmers. COVID-19 uncovered gaps in the current contact center model, as training a large group of customer support agents to deliver accurate answers in a rapidly changing environment is not feasible while also ensuring quality of service and experiences. A major airline built an RPA “bot” in just six days with the bot being able to address 80% of the airline’s cancellation requests, or about 4,000 per day. That amount of work would typically require around 200 full-time employees and the RPA solution costs 30% of what it would cost to hire new workers. In addition to cybersecurity spending being a top IT priority this year, around 55% of major organizations will boost their investments in automation solutions as well. The Digitization of the Virtual Workplace
  • 20. 20 From marketing to customer support, enterprises must now bridge end-to-end business processes and end- to-end customer experiences between back and front offices. Emerging low-code and no-code interfaces will accelerate the development and integration of automated processes in the customer journey to more positively shape customer experiences. COVID-19 is now serving as an inflection point for digital transformation, with RPA and chatbots ensuring business continuity across industries despite the huge spike in claims and queries accelerated by COVID-19 (particularly in the travel, leisure, entertainment, and hospitality industries). RPA spend is forecasted to reach $25 billion by 2025 (compared to $3.6 billion today), and by the end of 2022, 85% of large organizations will have deployed some form of RPA. Virtual voice assistants could become the new interface for the first point of contact in customer support and engagement. In April, Google launched Rapid Response Virtual Agent, a special version of its Contact Center Artificial Intelligence, and lowered the price of its service in response to client demand. Orbita launched Industries are looking to technology and automation to future-proof their business an interactive voice and text chatbot for healthcare organizations that can educate the public and assist in triage. Apple’s Siri now walks users through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 assessment questions and makes recommendations based on their responses. While RPA can be a game-changer, it has its own set of limitations, which involve subjective decision making, processing different incoming formats for data fed in, and human judgment. To achieve optimum results with RPA, organizations need to take an iterative approach as they cannot perfect automation after a twelve- month development cycle. In order to be successful with automation using RPAs, companies need to understand the key use cases and business processes that can be optimized by existing workflows and availability of rich structured data. Companies need to establish alignment and expectations across the workforce so that employees do not fear losing their jobs once automation is integrated across several touch points within the organization. Virtual voice assistants could become the new interface for the first point of contact in customer support and engagement
  • 21. 21 As companies provide more employees with remote work computers and access to email on personal mobile devices, the need to build heightened cybersecurity will become mandatory. Cybercriminals will continue to accelerate their efforts against remote workers as they know many are working remotely for the first time—often with insecure network connections (e.g., weak passwords), less secure hardware, and inadequate IT support. They also know remote work comes with a slew of distractions, especially for working parents, which contribute to higher email click rates and, by extension, higher rates of cyber infection. Over the last four years, companies and individuals lost an estimated $26B from a combination of business email compromise and email account compromise schemes. 63% of cyber incidents are caused directly by employees— through accidental disclosure, social engineering scams, inadvertent ransomware infection, and even malicious intentional behaviour. According to the Nucleus Cyber 2019 Insider Threat Report, 70% of organizations are seeing insider attacks more frequently, with 60% experiencing at least one attack within the past twelve months—and that is pre-COVID. A more remote workforce will necessitate an acceleration of global cybersecurity spending, as 2020 has already been a banner year for cybersecurity attacks In May 2020, the weekly average rate of invoice and payment fraud attacks spiked 200%, with 36% more organizations experiencing these kinds of attacks, according to Abnormal Security. Approximately 91% of businesses reported an increase in cyberattacks with employees working from home, with COVID-19-inspired malware witnessing the highest jump across the globe. Business email compromise, where attackers impersonate a corporate email address to fraudulently redirect funds, continues to be one of the most common forms of cyberattacks and takes on several forms. With more employees working online, companies will need to prioritize safeguarding business operations and sensitive information to avoid major financial and reputational consequences. As the makers of the world’s most secure PCs, HP computers already include a number of cybersecurity innovations that can help ensure a more secure remote workforce. Companies such as Garmin know the significant strain these attacks can have on their business and customers. Early detection and remediation have real cost benefits, with companies reducing costs per attack by 72%, translating to $6M in annual savings. Already nearly three out of four business leaders see cybersecurity as a top priority in COVID-19 recovery. COVID-19 has heightened awareness of cyberthreats among businesses and more than two thirds of organizations (68%), both private and public, are planning to increase their cybersecurity budgets. The global cybersecurity spend is forecasted to be $173B in 2020, but with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may well now exceed that figure. 91% of businesses reported an increase in cyberattacks with employees working from home Source: VMware Carbon Black
  • 22. 22 Post pandemic scenario The role of technology in HR and recruiting • New AI and Robot policies will need to be adopted by corporations to avoid privacy and ethics HR issues • AI could help employees and contractors wade through legal and financial jargon when evaluating offer letters, non-disclosure agreements, and benefits plans • Workforce rating platforms integrated with AI and machine learning recommendation engines, could be the new referral in hiring a talented workforce • Potential recruits could use the same platform to assess work environment, corporate culture, management ratings, and more • Blockchain technology could be used for smart contracts and payments with contractors and gig workers 22
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  • 24. 24 It’s clear that COVID-19’s impact on work will be long-lived. With remote workers expected to continue to work from home during the pandemic, and likely beyond in some capacity, what, where, and how we work will continue to be transformed. A changing workforce may lead to new converging trends as remote workers and gig workers start to look more alike, offering companies and workers new opportunities and challenges. Where workers reside is likely to move farther from corporate and industry epicenters requiring employers to explore new flexible office, training, and collaboration models. It will also spur companies to offer market rate salaries based on employee location, the winners of the talent war being companies offering new flexible work options and tapping into digital advancements. From automating processes and workflows, to protecting corporate assets and remote workers from growing cyberattacks, technology innovation will fuel the future of work and allow companies to quickly adapt. So, whatever the next pandemic, unplanned disruption, or cosmic curveball thrown the corporate way, today and tomorrow’s innovations will help companies future-proof their business and be ready. In Summary 24
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  • 27. 27 Some of the key assumptions considered in developing the scenarios mentioned below are that countries, economies, and societies are not expected to return to pre-pandemic normalcy until the end of 2021; and the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine will not be made available for everyone globally until 2024. These factors lead to a scenario that will require existing remote workers to continue to work from their homes and non-office locations, as frontline healthcare and essential workers are prioritized to receive the preliminary vaccine shots. It is still unknown how much corporations will be willing to accommodate ‘non-essential’ employees at office locations, apart from costs associated with retrofitting offices to incorporate social distancing, during an economic downturn. Real Estate and Financial Impacts • Companies will consolidate their commercial real estate as 'working from home' becomes the new norm, especially in Tier-1 cities, potentially resulting in a plummet in the enterprise real-estate market. • Companies will move away from traditional ten- year leases opting for shorter commitments, flexible leases, or coworking space. • Companies will explore repurposing the enterprise buildings they own to become coworking spaces for multiple companies and start-ups, subsidized child care programs, incubation/accelerator/ innovation hubs, and even event and conference venues, with social distancing being reinforced in the building designs. • Tech companies with a huge real-estate footprint could repurpose their space by providing subsidized housing along with other amenities pertaining to sustainability, healthcare, education, and wellness for its employees, thereby creating an integrated township fostering its work culture. • Companies will provide leasing program or allowances for office furniture, as well as reimburse employees for broadband and cell phone charges if working from home becomes permanent. • If full-time work from home becomes the norm, companies could even finance the new home down payments for recruits and star talent as part of its long-term retention strategy. • Adoption of “water cooler apps” to foster impromptu interactions will be on the rise, while some companies, retailers, hotels, restaurants, and coffee-shops will look to repurpose commercial spaces not only for coworking, but also for grocery shopping, fitness centers, takeout restaurants, child care programs, and recreational centers, thereby enabling employees to get to know their colleagues in a more personal and casual way, which they currently miss out on by not being in the office. • In shared spaces, expect more touchless fixtures, such as door sensors, automatic sinks, and soap dispensers. Virtual voice assistants could become the new interface in buildings and remove the need for physically pushing a button in an elevator or touching a surface in an office. • Office buildings of the future may become places to gather for meetings and corporate events, while focused work is done remotely. Hence, many companies are expected to adopt the hub-and- spoke model in the future. • Architects may also design spaces with durable building materials for furniture, flooring, and other surfaces so they can withstand frequent deep cleaning for the foreseeable future. Post Pandemic Scenarios
  • 28. 28 Devices • Sensors on laptop cameras could be leveraged to track worker temperatures before they login to corporate networks or enter office premises. • AI, biometrics, and sensor data from laptops could, with employee permission, be used to better understand stress levels, work-related fatigue, and other job-related health concerns. • The use of facial recognition for work could expand beyond applications like Windows Hello, to rapidly detect if someone unauthorized is using the laptop when people work remotely. An example of that type of usage would be BlackBerry Persona. • Laptop speakers and headsets could adopt technology such as “background noise suppression” to help alleviate or eliminate work from home noises. For example, BabbleLabs, recently acquired by Cisco, developed noise suppression technology that distinguishes speech from background noise and removes background noise in real time, while enhancing the voice to elevate communication, regardless of language. • With most work from home employees requiring both a laptop and monitor to do their work, expect to see a variety of computing devices and applications that are optimised for high-bandwidth video applications and collaboration, with the ability to easily stream content from Over-the-Top (OTT) applications and services via Wi-Fi and 5G aggregation and edge computing. • Augmented reality and virtual reality companies such as Nimo Planet and Spatial could provide remote workers with immersive experiences while they collaborate. • Additional security and safety features, such as the ones HP recently launched, will need to continue to be built into devices to accommodate remote workers. Collaborative Experiences • Virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams could offer work from home services/goods such as virtual work wardrobes or cosmetic makeovers via a freemium model. • AI could remove or mask unexpected home office intruders such as children, pets, or housemates during virtual meetings. • The enterprise version of “super apps” could emerge wherein you use just one platform for email, Instant messaging, calendar, video conferencing, storage, work collaboration, and even an enterprise digital wallet for banking, instant payments, and to store employees’ enterprise tokens and digital assets. • To accommodate teams that might have some members working remotely and others coming into the office, “Zoom rooms” may become fixtures of the COVID-19 workplace, turning smaller conference rooms into video chat spaces. Coworking Hotspots • Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) and cafes such as Starbucks could become the “third place” office providing meeting spaces, video chat booths, and co-working spaces. This would allow companies to take advantage of spaces which would have otherwise been vacant. • QSRs and cafes could be the WeWork of the future by leveraging their brand and existing install base of outlets worldwide and scaling it further to support next generation technologies and new experiences. • McDonalds, Starbucks, and Subway are reportedly among nineteen restaurants and retail shops that are involved in testing China’s central bank digital currency. • Employees could use their enterprise tokens/ digital assets or enterprise loyalty points/cards, in QSRs and cafes to print/scan content, use meeting rooms/booths in addition to buying meals.
  • 29. 29 The Role of AI in HR Policies and Recruiting • New AI and robot policies will need to be adopted by corporations to avoid privacy and ethics HR issues. Higher unemployment rates might necessitate increasing the retirement age for the rising aging population to older than seventy years. Corporate policies around workforce surveillance, privacy issues, and ethics could be an additional deciding factor for workers considering new jobs and projects. • The workforce could also leverage AI to peruse the terms and conditions of a potential employer. For instance, if the employer has a lengthy offer letter filled with legal and financial jargon that the employee is having a hard time understanding, the employee could use a personal assistant (paying a subscription or one-time fee) to peruse the document and get valuable insights such as “Luke, the employer will only provide you a bonus if the company meets stakeholders expectations of a higher EPS and 2% revenue growth for every quarter in the fiscal year and not calendar year.” Or: “Luke, did you know that this company provides the best healthcare plan and benefits compared to all other companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and they even cover medication and treatment costs pertaining to COVID-19?” • Workforce rating platforms integrated with AI and machine learning recommendation engines could be the new referral in hiring a talented workforce. These platforms could be maintained on a global corporate blockchain that would validate academic certifications, work experience, promotions, employee recommendations, and more. As a result, this will save companies both time and money on background checks and conducting preliminary interviews. • Potential recruits could also use the same platform before accepting the offer or signing off the project contract, to assess work environment, corporate culture, management ratings, and more. Hardware and Software • Workforce “engagement embedded sensors” and software installed on laptops, wearables, and mobile devices could be in high demand to ensure that employees are fully engaged during a video call with real-time alerts sent to managers in case their staff were to view irrelevant content, like watching Facebook or Twitter, during a meeting or if unauthorized people are viewing enterprise content on the same laptop or other client devices. • Employees working on highly confidential client data could also be required to switch on surveillance smart cameras, provided by companies, while they work. This could be the first level of authentication to accessing corporate information, databases, products, and services in private locations, in addition to biometric authentication, which will eradicate the need to input passwords. These implementations could potentially mitigate trust issues especially when closing deals with third parties, vendors, and partners. Gig Economy • Countries with a huge STEM population and dense talent pool, such as India and Eastern Europe, could stand to benefit the most in the global gig economy where the workforce will be further decentralized. HR policies will need to further transform to align with government regulations and local employee compensation requirements. • Companies could use blockchain technology to pay their global gig workers once a project is completed, either in Crypto or CBDC or fiat currency. • Smart contracts on the blockchain could potentially replace intermediaries, lawyers, recruiters, etc. in a gig marketplace, saving both time and money.
  • 30. 30 IT-as-a-Service • The role of IT support services in the future of work could be decentralized, automated, and outsourced, with companies providing their customers and partners with market and country- specific software tools and resources, as well as on-demand access to a growing library of virtual training options, cybersecurity support, and enhanced 24/7 customer support bundled with their products and services. Digital Transformation • As automation continues to advance in various industries, humans will focus on innovation, creativity, and problem solving. • As a result, this will reduce the demand for low-skill and low-wage jobs with governments creating income transfer programs based either on Universal Basic Income, Universal Basic Assets, or others. If nothing is done, the social gap will continue to widen dramatically in the future from where it is today. New Technology • Companies will explore the latest wireless broadband technology for remote workers in areas experiencing unreliable broadband connectivity¬– especially in emerging markets. For example, Bill Gates recently led a new $85 million funding round for Kymeta as the company prepares to launch a new hybrid satellite-cellular antenna and mobile internet service for government and industry use. • Companies could also leverage blockchain technology for the used and refurbished market in emerging nations where laptops, printers, and other consumer electronic devices can not only be sold at lucrative prices, but also provide assurance to end users that the company has authorized the refurbished device and it is tamperproof. Reskilling and Well-being • Companies will shape HR policies for gig workers worldwide and advocate instant payments– using technologies such as Ripplenet–on project completion. • A lot of emphasis will be placed on reskilling and training employees into new growth opportunities in urban tech. • For companies adopting full-time work-from- home policies, benefits programs could expand to include online psychologists and counselors for employees struggling with juggling work and home life responsibilities. • Technology companies might also consider a COVID-19 hotline for employees struggling with extreme mental health challenges, domestic violence, and abuse while working remotely. • Many companies will pilot a healthcare app for their employees similar to Amazon Care that offer health advice, virtual medical visits, and in-person support via a health professional that shows up at an employee’s home.
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  • 32. 32 For questions contact HP Labs at: labs.reports@hp.com