Employees have re-evaluated the idea of work and where it gets done. Companies need to rewrite the rules and create secure and equitable work-from-anywhere experiences to keep them happy.
For most people around the world, the days of going into an office every single day are over. Today’s workers want flexible arrangements that allow them to choose where they work best. And they’re willing to leave jobs to get them.
Hybrid work is here to stay. And that’s not a bad thing.
It’s Good for Employees
Research from Citrix shows that 70 percent of employees feel they are as or more productive working remotely. And 83 percent feel they have a better work-life balance when working outside the office.
It’s Good for Business
According to another Citrix study, investments in flexible work models and technology to support them fueled a boost in revenue of close to $700 billion dollars among companies last year. And businesses expect to drive additional benefits through lower real estate costs, reduced turnover, and better disaster preparedness.
It’s Good for the Environment
Allowing 1,000 employees to work from home for just two days per week helps reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent. And by some estimates, flexible work models could reduce carbon emissions by 214 million tons annually.
But hybrid work is not without its challenges.
A Complex Proposition
In response to the pandemic, companies equipped employees with tools that allow them to access the resources they need to get work done, wherever it needs to get done. But they’re given them too many that are too hard to use. The average company has more than 500 applications in place. The typical employee uses roughly 42 in the course of their jobs, often needing to navigate multiple applications — each with different interfaces and security protocols — just to get a single process done. And 71 percent of employees feel that the tools they use make work more complex.
A Security Nightmare
With employees and contractors working from anywhere — in some cases using personal devices to access cloud apps and corporate resources — the attack surface is larger than it has ever been and many IT organizations are struggling to defend it. About three quarters of the IT professionals who participated in a Pulse survey say they’re fighting to keep up with the increased volume of security threats that hybrid work models create. Things like ransomware attacks, insider threats, API and software breaches and vulnerabilities, and phishing attacks. And about the same number -74 percent — say that their procedures and controls have become more complex as their organizations transition to hybrid work.
A New Divide
Most company processes were developed with the expectation that people are in the office. Without careful consideration of employee experience, hybrid work threatens to open a new digital divide. Individuals who are remote can easily feel left out in key parts of their job — whether it being ignored in meetings with few virtual participants, or having to cope with parts of their role that haven’t evolved for a hybrid world.
But these challenges can be overcome. With the right technology and rules to support it, companies can create effective work-from-anywhere experiences that empower people to be and do their best.
The Hybrid Work Stack
As consumers, we rely on things like Instagram, Uber, Netflix and airline apps to manage our lives. These apps know our preferences and schedules. They curate our days, offering up recommendations for entertainment, transportation, or shopping insights and opportunities to meet our needs and guide our days. And, with a single click, we can accomplish tasks to make our lives more efficient and fulfilling.
At work, these streamlined and personalized experiences are replaced with company-issued technology and mandated workflows and systems that are cumbersome to use, slow us down, and often keep us from doing meaningful work. The work apps we use are the equivalent of the office copy machine — they have tons of features and can do lots of stuff. Most of us just want to press a single button to make a standard copy and move on. But we can’t. And it’s frustrating and slowing us down.
To remedy the problem, IT needs to reimagine the underlying infrastructure and tools people use to do their jobs and streamline applications so that hybrid workers can cut through the clutter and excel.
And this is where digital workspace solutions come into play. With the right platform, IT can quickly and easily:
· Unify work — Whether at home, on plane or in an office, employees have consistent and reliable access to all the resources they need to be productive across any work channel, device or location.
· Secure work — Contextual access and app security, ensure applications and information remain secure — no matter where work happens.
· Simplify work — Intelligence capabilities like machine learning, virtual assistants and simplified workflows personalize, guide, and automate the work experience so employees can work free from noise and perform at their best.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has done just this.
A lot of the construction that goes on at the ODOT happens through contractors. When those construction contracts are underway, there are a lot of change orders, and those change orders were taking up to six weeks to be executed all because contractors couldn’t access internal applications. It was a highly complicated process for everyone involved. Using micro-apps and other workflows within its digital workspace solution, ODOT re-architected the process to remove distractions and complexities, and approval times drop from weeks to hours.
When approached the right way, hybrid work opens the door to significant opportunities. As individuals, we can work in the best way that works for us, where it happens best. As companies, we can rethink our work models and accelerate innovation.
The great reset is the single biggest opportunity we have as a society today. And business leaders who embrace it and introduce their organizations to technology that empowers hybrid work can make the most of it and move their organizations forward.