I have been working with communication tools for more than a decade, and I have for a long time said I can work from anywhere. As long as I have a laptop, a good headset and a solid Internet connection, there is nothing preventing me from doing my job.
Many companies have never been forced, like they are right now, to provide workers with the option of working from anywhere. So to me, the next couple of weeks will be business as usual except for a couple of trips that I have to postpone. But for my wife for example, this is almost a brand new situation, and the IT department at her work is scrambling to provide access to all their employees.
Even though the tools for communication and collaboration across long distances have existed for a long time, the old patterns of traveling and doing things physically in "the office" have not really changed a lot. I predict a change in these patterns now. This is the time where thousands of companies will realize these tools are worth looking into, and they work just fine. There is no need to be attached to the physical workplace, as long as the employees have access to the services and the proper equipment to do their job.
I believe that companies that have already adopted the "modern workplace" will suffer less loss of productivity the next couple of week, and those who have not should start looking at their tools, services and workloads, and see how they can start their transition to a digital, modern workplace, where the physical location does not really matter. I also believe that people now will experience how virtual meetings can be done, and the need to travel half across the country just to participate in a meeting is unnecessary, and actually a waste of time and resources. This might be tough on airlines and the rest of the travel industry, but it will increase efficiency for many, and reduce travel requirements and therefor be good for our environment.
The situation is serious, and many companies do not have the option to let their employees work from home. But for the many "office-rats" like myself, the way we work will change drastically with the lockdowns that are taking place all over the world.
Not everyone will go for the same set of tools, but I can really recommend my first choice, which is the productivity tools known as Microsoft 365. I have all the desktop tools I need to get my job done, and with Teams as a working hub, I am capable to see, talk to and collaborate with all my customers and coworkers. We have even created new channels for social chit-chat and fun, and now have a new set of daily morning meetings where we discuss the current situation and how to deal with whatever obstacles we have doing our jobs. We are used to having consultants work from all over the world, and the lockdown is really just a small adjustment to how we've always been working.