There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated some trends that were already underway, and smart organizations are preparing for changes in the way the business world operates.   Though New York allowed non-essential workers back into their offices in June, workers are staying away in droves, with the blessing of their employers.   Most buildings are ghost towns.   On September 29 the Wall Street Journal reported that only around 10% of the workforce has returned to New York City office environments.  Real estate and investing are leading the return, but few others are following. 

Infrastructure is Paramount:   Adapting towards work from home escalates the need for infrastructure to allow employees to interact, collaborate, and communicate.   Security, connectivity, and performance are all impacted.   Large data center hubs as providers developing edge computing nodes are seeing new demand.   Technology industry analysts are reporting significant growth in many aspects of infrastructure.   

Acceleration of a Trend:  Transition to work from home already was a long-term trend.  Now that so many people have realized the benefits, remote working is expected to become more permanent for many as we move towards our post-pandemic world.  US Census Data shows that workers in metropolitan Chicago, Washington DC, New York, Atlanta, and several areas in California were averaging over an hour each day in round-trip commute time.   The time recaptured is welcomed by many. 

Recapturing Five Weeks a Year:  While over an hour a day to and from work seems high, the drop-off from those high-commute areas is not dramatic, as the average commute time nationally is 52 minutes per day.  With a full-time employee averaging around 240 days of work each year, that’s the equivalent of more than five 40-hour work weeks per year for the average employee simply commuting.  During COVID-19 companies are overwhelmingly reporting that employees working from home are more productive, as well as happier with the arrangements as they recapture some of that commute time to both work more and capture additional personal time.  

A Semi-Permanent Trend:  Many of those workers want to keep that reclaimed time.   Employers understand this and see it as an opportunity to both compete for talent as well as reduce real estate expenses.  Twitter and Square are allowing many of their employees to continue working from home “forever”.  Facebook plans to have as many as 50% of their employees working remotely within the next decade.   Salesforce, Google, Slack, Zillow, and many other tech firms have joined them, as have companies as diverse as Capital One, Nationwide Insurance, and MasterCard.  

Scalability is Paramount:  As work-from-home becomes widely adopted, data center scalability is more important than ever before.   Collaboration between far-flung workers introduces stress and complexity on your IT and networking strategies.  Some work activities can be done through the cloud and there’s no question that cloud demand will continue unabated. But for many organizations compliance requirements dictate that other business processes will need to remain on your own infrastructure.   Other applications simply work more efficiently and affordably in traditional data center environments instead of in the cloud.   

Whether public cloud, in a private cloud, or within a company-managed data center, it is imperative that your data center infrastructure needs to be able to scale and expand as never before. 

Digital Crossroad is Built for This: If a Chicago-area data center deployment is now a more important part of your future, you need to talk to Digital Crossroad.   With 20+ megawatts and 105,000 square feet of data center inventory available starting on October 31, 2020 to meet your growing needs, no other Chicago-area infrastructure has a better combination of expandability, scale, and the ability to set your own infrastructure path in a highly available data center environment.  

Onerous Chicago state and local taxes are avoided in an ideal location just 12 fiber miles from Chicago, just over the state line in business-friendly Indiana.   To learn about the benefits of a state-of-the-art new data center and get details on the “half-century tax holiday” for data center deployments at Digital Crossroad, please visit digitalcrossroad.com to arrange for a tour or a conversation. 

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