Over half (56%) of UK businesses plan to increase their digital skills training budgets for staff next year, suggesting changes to working practices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will be sustained. This is according to a survey of 200 senior business decision makers in large and medium sized companies by IT services provider Transputec.
The study also found that more than half (53%) of businesses are aiming to grow their IT infrastructure budget next year, while 60% of decision makers are planning to expand the use of digital collaboration tools to enable staff to connect more effectively and improve their well-being.
A third (33%) said they want to recruit a chief digital officer to help facilitate these changes, and 41% are seeking to hire candidates with high levels of digital skills.
In addition, close to half (44%) of UK businesses want to accelerate remote working going forward in order to reduce costs, such as by downsizing office space. Almost half (49%) of those surveyed expect to see growth next year, indicating that many businesses have already adapted well to a remote working model.
Sonny Sehgal, CEO of Transputec, commented: “COVID-19 has already had a devastating impact on UK business, and we’re not out of the woods yet. Fortunately, cutting edge technology has facilitated a mass shift to remote and digital working, and as a result, many businesses have observed benefits of lower overheads and more streamlined and efficient operations through managed services.
“Therefore, we can expect flexible working to stay with us for the long-term, even after it is deemed safe to return to the office on a permanent basis. Therefore, businesses must continue to bolster digital initiatives and prioritize the use of cloud-enabled digital collaboration tools, for example, if they wish to remain buoyant.”
Despite the business benefits of home working, the surge in this practice during COVID-19 has highlighted a number of cybersecurity issues, including the use of insecure video communication platforms and risky security behaviors by remote staff.