As Covid-19 restrictions lift, nearly all companies and IT professionals are facing a complicated and evolving challenge: if, how and when to return to the office (RTO). There is a challenge to refine the culture of organisation for remote and hybrid work nature.
These RTO plans must be flexible, of course, because if the pandemic has taught companies (and employees) anything, it’s that success takes agility and being prepared to pivot when change happens (and it will). Here are some tips on how IT can move forward.
To face this challenge organisations will have to select playbook for selecting, right-sizing, and optimizing technology infrastructure and tools that support people and set business goals.
Either/Or Thinking is Out: Today It’s Both/And
A recent survey found that 70% of employees want to return to the office at least some of the time and 73% of employees want to continue remote work at least some of the time. Together, that spells hybrid. Hybrid work blends remote work (or working from home/WFH) and in-office work, and is the most likely future of work, offering employees maximum flexibility via a “best of both worlds” work model.
Hybrid work, by definition, isn’t “either WFH/or RTO” but is “both/and.” It represents a fluid, changing continuum that offers employees maximum flexibility. Where work will happen won’t be set in stone, and whatever schedules employees might make (e.g., at home Monday to Wednesday, at the office Thursday and Friday) will be endlessly “subject to change.” Needless to say, supporting hybrid work will be a complex and fluid endeavor for organizations too.
With Hybrid Work Coming, What’s The Role of IT?
Forrester finds that 50% of organizations have a formalized flexible work program in place, while 41% plan to adopt one. That’s 91% of companies making the commitment to flexible work. The key goals for companies in the context of flexible, hybrid work is the same as for all-remote work and traditional, 9-to-5 office-centric work: (1) supporting employee productivity that drives business growth, and (2) enabling an employee experience that retains and attracts top talent.
To achieve this, no matter where people happen to work, IT needs to develop a flexible, agile IT infrastructure that can support employees remotely, in-office, or both. The formula for success is straightforward (but complicated to implement): hybrid work + remote-first IT infrastructure and tools = hybrid IT support.
Flex is Next: Location-Agnostic IT Support and Infrastructure
Remote work during the pandemic has proven beneficial for employees and companies alike. Chris Savio, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Rescue, explains, “Employees [working remotely] are more engaged and productive, which boosts retention rates. And remote work decreases real estate costs [for companies].”
To provide location-agnostic, flexible support in a world of hybrid work, IT teams must have the capacity to support anyone, anywhere, on any device or network. Achieving this necessary flexibility will require IT to have a flexible infrastructure and flexible support tools to support hybrid work.
4 Keys for Supporting Hybrid Work
Communication and collaboration: Teams must be enabled to work seamlessly with one another and with customers. To achieve “location agnosticism” for hybrid work, people will need unified communications and collaboration solutions that keep everyone in the loop, no matter where they work.
Remote access and support: Employees must have access to the systems they need to do their work. IT teams should have the capacity to instantly access any remote device, regardless of location, to support employees in hybrid work settings. To enable that, IT must be empowered with proactive and reactive remote support solutions.
Security: Remote support connections must be secure and lockout malicious actors. Employees’ identity, passwords and data need to be secured as well. Safeguard your workforce with solutions built with enterprise-grade security measures and protect sensitive passwords and access points.
Hardware: Can you support the physical equipment and environments your employees need, like printers, routers and other peripherals, no matter where they work? A camera-sharing solution can give IT instant eyes on the scene.