Guest blogger Jim Rapoza, research director at Aberdeen, offers insights into how business leaders who were already successfully guiding their organizations in the optimum ways to support remote workers were ahead of the curve when the pandemic hit.
Over the last few years, the business world has been slowly moving toward more remote and work-from home employee policies. Then COVID-19 hit—and as most businesses shut down offices, those plans went into warp speed.
Today, many organizations are faced with workforces that are nearly 100% working from home. And, surprisingly to some, businesses that were more prepared for this transformation are seeing many benefits in productivity and employee satisfaction in this work-from-home age.
However, the key point here is those businesses that were more prepared. Recent Aberdeen research into the impact of COVID-19 found that 41% of organizations were unprepared for the impact of the pandemic and the consequent shutdowns. And when businesses are unprepared, their work-from-home capabilities come up short, as we also found that 27% of organizations are unsatisfied with their remote work capabilities since the start of the pandemic.
Among the top complaints that Aberdeen research has found for at-home workers in the last few months were limited ability to communicate with other staff and IT technical issues. The interesting thing is that many of these problems predate COVID-19. In fact, Aberdeen research into remote worker issues before the pandemic showed users complaining about slow response time, lack of IT expertise, and poor communication, while at the same time IT departments were challenged by IT costs, demands for new services and ability to address IT issues quickly.
Given all of these issues and barriers to success, one wouldn’t be surprised to find that many organizations are taking things slow, maybe hunkering down until the crisis is past. But Aberdeen’s research actually shows the opposite is true. Many organizations are instead aggressively investing in upgrading their IT infrastructure, implementing new technologies and boosting their IT capabilities, In fact, 72% of businesses say that they are increasing their investments in remote IT capabilities and 65% are increasing their investments in virtual desktop infrastructures.
We’ve seen that leaders aren’t just grabbing any remote IT system. They are instead leveraging systems that are hybrid cloud ready, that take advantage of cutting-edge intelligence and automation systems, that have high security features, and that simplify management of today’s remote workforce.
And when these leading businesses deploy these modernized remote solutions, such as remote communications, anywhere support, and agile and powerful virtual desktops, they see significant improvements in IT satisfaction and to the bottom line.
Aberdeen research into remote work investments has found that organizations with modern remote work capabilities based on virtual desktop infrastructures see improved collaboration and communication, increased security and better compliance, and much higher worker productivity. In fact, these organizations report 2.5x higher productivity than competitors with legacy systems.
To get your business modernized and better able to serve today’s remote and at-home workforce, Aberdeen looked at the leaders to see what strategies they follow. Among the key recommendations we found are:
• Start with a full understanding of remote worker requirements—Workers in today’s work at home environments rely on the ability to collaborate with peers in real-time. Leading businesses ensure that remote desktop infrastructures include strong, integrated collaboration capabilities that let teams work together in real-time, in their application environments, to carry out complex tasks.
• Remote must be as good or better than desktop application use—Remote users need performance that is super-fast, they need an environment that meets the highest computing demands, and they can’t accept any limitations or weaknesses. A remote desktop solution needs to meet all these requirements and bring added benefits, such as collaboration and security, that are lacking in traditional application environments.
• Strong security is key—Business users are often dealing with sensitive content. To protect these vital assets, and to meet stringent compliance requirements, businesses need to ensure that their remote access solutions are secure from intrusion, protect data, have deep reporting and analytics, and do all this without impacting the performance or usability of critical applications.
• Build for the workers of today, and tomorrow—From IoT to augmented reality to artificial intelligence, new technologies are constantly changing today’s application environments. With the right remote access solutions, businesses can ensure that vital workers are always armed with the tools needed to meet these changing technologies and ensure that the business maintains a competitive edge.
Someday, hopefully soon, the pandemic will be over, and many employees will return to offices. But the work from home trend is here to stay, with many businesses saying that anywhere from 50% to 90% up to 100% of their workforce will remain remote. In this new work environment, businesses with strong remote IT and virtual desktop capabilities will be well positioned to keep these employees connected, secure and productive.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise