We are all painfully aware how the current climate of lockdown and working from home has focused the conversations within the technology community regarding the pros and cons of remote working.
And whilst we can assume that relocating to a home office will become de-facto for many people over the coming months, remote working needs “bigger picture” thinking with respect to how organizations need to be delivering IT in the future. After all, remote working is only one of the areas that a modern workspace technology delivers. Let’s take a closer look.
Modern workspace: A complex and moving feast
IT at work is becoming more complex than ever, with legacy apps, web apps, cloud apps, mobile apps and with data spread across files shares, databases, collaboration tools and clouds. How can anyone find anything? It is thought that employees on average spend almost 10 hours per week – roughly 20% of their time – searching for the information they need.
Advancements in technology are rapidly transforming the modern workspace – everything from tablets and smartphones to software such as video conferencing tools allowing for remote employees to be able to work together in virtual offices. Automation, too, will transform the nature of many job roles.
AI is widely expected to impact customer services, helping customers by using a combination of voice and context recognition – perhaps completely removing the need for human involvement. Business intelligence will also provide valuable assistance: on the one hand helping organizations with customer insight, and on the other allowing employees to focus on transformative business innovation.
Securing this ever more distributed IT environment and user base across a growing array of devices is becoming impossible. We have already witnessed the widespread adoption of cloud computing. This uprooted the (almost) ancient on-premise and centralized corporate data center model for computing.
Under these new conditions, we find IT resources, applications and data widely distributed among corporate data centers, cloud providers, branch offices and across international borders.
Cloud and solution architects will play an essential role in designing and deploying the “best” type and location of cloud resources. And, critically, they need to do this in conjunction with data security teams so that application and data assets are fully protected.
Also, many workers, especially the younger generations, are aware of the good user experience they get from consumer mobile and cloud applications and want the same from corporate IT. They will often resort to these un-sanctioned consumer grade applications when IT does not deliver the functionality or user experience they need to be productive – with little concern for security.
Employee engagement and growth
Delivering a good experience from corporate IT is critical to retaining talent, maximizing productivity/innovation and optimizing employee satisfaction. Indeed, according to historical employee engagement assessments by Gallup, companies with engaged employees can be over 20% more productive than those without.
An effective internal communication, which involves making sure that employees have easy access to the right information and resources when they need them, is the cornerstone of employee experience. If you also factor in that some organizations are still using old-fashioned intranets for their internal communication, it’s easy to understand why employee frustration can arise.
As we see workspace burnout getting more attention, is it possible that more technology could actually provide the answers for chronic workspace stress?
Organizations should be striving to use the appropriate technology in order to improve communication throughout their businesses. When you have deployed efficient internal communications, employees are able to see how their contributions impact on the company’s overall success. It gives them a positive sense of involvement. The environment in which businesses operate (that is to say new technologies, new platforms, etc.) is set to continue evolving at a relentless pace. But human nature will not necessarily keep up at the same rate – corporate IT needs to understand this and adapt accordingly.
A secure digital workspace
If corporate applications and data are provided to workers through a device- and location- independent secure digital workspace, then the fact that it enables “work from home” is just a bonus. As work becomes increasingly mobile, a secure digital workspace gives employees added agility without turning them into security risks.
The future of work offers unparalleled opportunities, but also poses significant challenges. Technological progress will have a profound impact on society and how we all work. It is crucial, therefore, that IT policies help workers at large to manage the transition with a minimum of disruption, whilst maximizing all of the potential benefits.