Big organisations have indicated they plan to increase innovation spending and expect 42 per cent of workers will be at home after pandemic lockdowns end.

“The future of physical office space will therefore be changed towards more collaborative uses, such as cross-team meetings, brainstorming, fun activities and anything that requires connectedness. We expect a change in the real estate design of internal office spaces to reflect the new requirements such as meeting booths, virtual reality-based communication tech and ideation zones.”
Ms Sundararajan said the study also highlighted new challenges and investment requirements related to maintaining the emotional wellbeing of remote staff, in addition to the technology spending required to keep them productive.
She expected governments would begin trying to incentivise workers to return to their offices because of the harm home working can inflict on a parallel economy in transportation, hospitality and entertainment.
The ADAPT study reinforced a perception across the technology sector that the pandemic has been a catalyst of digital transformation and fresh enthusiasm for spending.
Its respondents were mostly chief information officers and tech-related executives, and 47 per cent reported an increase in focus on and funding for innovation-related projects. Fifty-nine per cent said innovative work was being conducted more quickly.
Most of this increased investment has been focused on increasing the ability of organisations to offer products and services digitally, and on the rapid digitisation of internal processes and systems, which will continue after lockdown.
“A great example is at construction company McConnell Dowell, which spoke about the simple innovation it adopted when they could no longer deliver physical walk-throughs around their sites. They started using virtual walk-throughs using Microsoft Teams, mobile gimbals and wireless headsets,” Ms Sundararajan said.
“Within the new set-up, essential workers from McConnell Dowell would be present at the site and give a virtual walk-through to internal stakeholders present in different locations.
“Consequently, the team was able to gather highly accurate visual data from live and recorded walk-through sessions that were used by various teams working on the project.”
The era has also had a refreshing impact on boardrooms, according to ADAPT, with 73 per cent of survey respondents saying their board’s digital literacy and mindset had grown during the pandemic.