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By Thibault Dousson, Country General Manager at Lenovo South Africa

The workforce has been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers across the country required employees to work remotely as part of the efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, and the shift away from office environments ushered in the largest remote workforce we have ever seen – with many working from home for the first time.

While this dramatic transition undoubtedly came with some challenges, increased productivity and agility have been widely recognized as major benefits of this newfound flexibility in the workplace. In fact, experts now believe this remote work experiment will have lasting effects into the future.

According to Lenovo’s recent Technology and the Evolving World of Work global research study, 77-percent of employees feel that companies will be more open to or even encourage letting workers work remotely once we get through this period. In addition, 52-percent of respondents believe they will continue to work from home more than they did pre-COVID. With these new insights, employers have been forced to rethink and reshape the way they conduct business for both their short and long-term objectives. Reconsidering the role of technology for remote, office and hybrid employees is more imperative than ever before.

In this work-from-anywhere world, the lines of personal and professional life continue to blur. Workers across the country are embracing being away from the office – yet feel more connected to their devices as the “office” becomes wherever their technology is. This has sparked a need for customizable, modern devices that can adapt, no matter your environment. Companies will need to rise to the challenge to create new technology to provide flexible solutions for their employees’ home and work lifestyles.

These new working environments require the next wave of technology advancements. That’s where foldable technology comes in. Foldable PC technology is a groundbreaking innovation that launches a new category and redefines the way users interact with their devices. It allows users to be more fluid between their tech at home world, regardless of location. In today’s remote workplace, we move with our laptops in hand from a desk, to a couch, or even to walking the treadmill if you have one. You no longer need to sit in the “home office” base or one setting for the entire day. Instead, the new form-factors of foldable PCs will provide unmatched portability and versatility.

User experience research suggests that users who frequently switch between phone, tablet and laptop are looking for something with different capabilities and benefits. These insights shed light on a new need for devices to be multifunctional while staying as compact as possible. Ultimately, everyone wants a laptop experience without carrying a laptop. Foldable technology gives you the convenience of having multiple devices within one neat solution without compromising on performance.

The next generation of foldable technology will continue to build on the user experience feedback of today. Anticipating the future needs of consumers will continue to drive innovation forward. The first foldable PC, ThinkPad X1 Fold, is already in the market and it has an optional keyboard, digital pen, and accessories to unmatched user experience. When paired with 5G capabilities, the first foldable PC is the ultimate device for ultra-mobile users that want to be always connected. The next iteration of foldable PCs will continue to evolve into different screen sizes, as well as rollable screens.

In the immediate aftermath of this shift to remote work, companies strived to minimize the impact to business continuity. Now, they must look to the longer-term benefits from greater flexibility and invest in the next wave of technology, including 5G, to support a workforce that may continue to be largely remote.