Reimagining the workplace in a digital-first world

“Now is the time to reset, pivot, and think big to transform your business operations to match new digital expectations.” (Google, 2020).

Has the pandemic fast tracked the adoption of technology?

Technology remains to be at the forefront of any future of work conversation, and very well should be as we enter into the “new normal” that has emerged since the coronavirus pandemic. For many companies, they have been forced to migrate to the digital world, whether that be transitioning to remote sales and service teams, switching to e-commerce online ordering and deliveries, or implementing innovative technology solutions within their workspaces to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. Nearly all companies are reorientating their business models to be more digital, and recent data by McKinsey and Company shows that in the space of eight weeks from when the first lockdown was announced, we managed to leap a shocking five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption – which wouldn’t of happened without the pandemic. IT is delivering at a pace that we have never seen before, and by the looks of it, has no intention of slowing down.

The changing attitudes of the consumer

Every single individual has been affected by technology, whether that is for transactional, educational or personal purposes in their life. As a result, we as a population are developing much higher digital expectations. This change in consumer attitudes makes it pivotal for businesses to adapt and transform their current processes to ensure they are satisfying the needs of the consumer. This of course reaps benefits for companies too; last year Google reported that having the best-in-class digital marketing teams and departments can return as much as 20% extra revenue and 30% lower costs. It is of no surprise that technology can give us capabilities we could only dream of having ourselves.

A new workspace

Change is afoot in the workplace as we enter a new era of strict hygiene measures and social distancing controls. A bustling office spilling with employees has quickly turned to ‘1in-1out’ and forced companies to either close and work from home or implement safer workspaces that can restrict the spread of coronavirus. This involves the roll out of employee contact tracing devices, thermal testing on entry to the workplace and a complete rethink of office workspaces to ensure employees can stay safe whilst at their desks. Companies have also launched analytics and artificial-intelligence (AI) initiatives in their operations. Technology has quickly turned from a nice-to-have to an essential part of life, and anyone who does not have access to WiFi or strong broadband connection are beginning to be less advantaged to those who do.

One of the biggest challenges people experienced whilst remote working was internet performance. WhistleOut found that 35% of individuals they surveyed said that weak internet has prevented them from doing their work at some point during the coronavirus crisis, with 43% of workers having to use their phone as a hotspot as a way to get online. This means it is even more important for businesses to work with their employees to ensure they have access to all of the right resources and equipment to have a successful remote working environment. A question we should be asking ourselves now: how can we recreate the best parts of the office at home using technology? The rise of video conferencing and team collaboration apps, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams has enabled successful working from home for many companies and has bridged the virtual gap we had of connection with each other. In fact, they have been so accepted, the ease and accessibility of these apps has resulted in firms becoming more and more reluctant to bring their employees back into the office as this new set up seems to be working so successfully. This represents a new working revolution – and for most companies, the changes to date represent only the first phase of the changes that will be necessary for the years to come.

How are we responding to this?

We are committed to responding to the needs of the world by refocusing our efforts and setting new technology goals to ensure our customers have the very best experience with us. We are delighted to be soon announcing the launch of our brand-new technology store that will be live in the coming weeks that is completely dedicated to hosting the very best products, at the very best prices, from all of your favourite manufacturers. We are also making continuous improvements to our Upstream superstore – a hub loaded with thousands of products from a multitude of product ranges to ensure your workplace works. We had one online store. Now we have two. We want to give our customers the best opportunity at ensuring they can receive the goods they need, without the hassle.


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Upstream’s response during the pandemic has been impeccable, supplying us with 2 million face masks at short notice has helped us to continue providing food to supermarkets nationwide.

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