Shares of BlackBerry (TSX:BB)(NYSE:BB) are down more than 30% over the past 12 months. But years from now things could look much different for the top Canadian tech stock, as there could be seismic changes in how businesses operate moving forward. While many companies are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic right now, there are certain changes that could be here to stay long after it’s gone.
Working from home will be the new normal for many employees
Statistics Canada recently surveyed business on many questions, including remote work. The results found that while there will be fewer remote workers when the pandemic is over and things go back to normal, many people will continue working remotely.
Data collected on February 1 found that 16.6% of Canadian businesses had at least 10% of their workers doing their jobs remotely. Fast forward to May 29, with the pandemic weighing down the economy, that percentage rose to 32.6%, nearly double February’s figure. But for some businesses, they’re expecting this trend will continue long after the pandemic is over, with 22.5% of them still expecting to see at least one-tenth of their workers operating remotely.
Some industries reported even higher percentages, with nearly half (47.2%) of businesses in the information and cultural industries sector expecting to see remote workers making up a large part of their operations in a post-pandemic world.
These moves make sense given that companies are bleeding money amid the pandemic and businesses that can employ remote workers are likely better off doing so. That can help decrease expenses and even allow companies to make use of smaller office spaces. Any cost savings at this point can mean the difference between staying in business and closing up shop for good. And that’s going to be important, even after the pandemic is over, as the economy likely won’t be back to where it was before COVID-19. The recession will likely drag on for some time afterward.
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Why this is great news for BlackBerry
For companies serious about employing more remote workers, they’re likely going to need to improve their processes and controls. Outside the office, a company has less control over what a remote worker does at home and while they’re on different networks.
One vulnerability that BlackBerry can help companies with is data security and privacy. With cybersecurity tools to help keep users safe, BlackBerry can mitigate the risks that companies would otherwise be exposing themselves to by permitting more remote workers. A great example is ransomware, a problem that could cost a company more than US$84,000.
BlackBerry can help undo a ransomware attack through its Workspaces service and prevent a business from paying tens of thousands, perhaps more, to a hacker just to get access back to their files. Now more than ever, during a recession, businesses simply can’t afford to be making costly mistakes and paying ransomware. Hiring a company like BlackBerry to protect remote workers can allow a business to balance the best of both worlds: a leaner, more versatile workforce that can work from anywhere in the world without taking on significant risk by doing so.
Shares of BlackBerry aren’t popular today but given the potential the company has over the long term as it potentially benefits from more people working remotely, the sky could be the limit for this tech stock.
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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.
Fool contributor David Jagielski owns shares of BlackBerry. The Motley Fool recommends BlackBerry and BlackBerry.