Tech choices made today will have an impact over the next several years as much of the Australian workforce moves to remote working, says Lenovo ANZ managing director Matt Codrington.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies large and small to move to flexible and remote working. While this requires a significant culture shift, making sure you and your team have the right technical equipment is just as important, Codrington told Information Age.

“We’re seeing a big shift to a larger acceptance of remote working, on a number of different levels,” Codrington said. “We’re seeing that technology is playing a fairly central role in enabling the workforce to move forward and in ensuring collaboration and productivity.

“There’s been interest in adapting that flexible working arrangement, that’s been quite a quick move and has been really embraced across all enterprise customers and SME customers as well.”

And the tech choices made now will have an effect many years in the future, with remote working here to stay, he believes.

“This is not a short-term thing, this is a mid-to-long term thing that will continue to be relevant for the next three to five years.

“You’ve got to buy the right technology, and make that spectrum of technology available to have the right device available for the right role.”

According to Lenovo’s research, nearly 80 percent of surveyed workers felt like their companies would be more open to remote and flexible working once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

“That’s paralleled with some employers we’re talking to as well,” Codrington observed. “They’re making an adjustment but it is a similar experience in many ways to being in the office. It has its pluses and minuses of course but what we’re seeing is post-pandemic or as we transition from the lockdowns, is a much greater mix of those workers that are more mobile and able to make choices on where they work.”

There has been a rush to purchase the essential hardware needed to work from home, such as laptops, monitors and other devices, along with office chairs and productivity tools.

“You have to equip workers with easily portable technology,” Codrington said.

“That replicates today’s home office environment. Just like the modern workplace, we want and need to keep moving throughout the day. I have moved from room to room in the house, and you need to have the capability to do that.

“You need to stay flexible using that technology. You’re probably working much longer hours now so there needs to be an expectation with employees to take breaks and do those things.”

While the coronavirus pandemic has greatly accelerated the move towards greater adoption of remote working, this was something that was already well on the way before the virus hit, Codrington said.

“It’s important to recognise that people were already changing before the pandemic hit,” he said. “It’s not entirely a new thing. This is already an embraced working methodology before the pandemic hit.

“What this is doing is increasing the number of remote workers and introducing it to those workers not familiar with it.”

This technology is also crucial to ensure workers are maintaining contact and connections with their co-workers that is currently not possible in-person.

“Staying connected is very important for workers’ wellbeing and making sure they can continue to have that touchpoint,” Codrington added.

“My team connects three times a week in the morning - we make sure they have that feeling of being part of a broader team staying in touch and staying up to speed.”