When the pandemic crisis hit, IT teams responded with amazing agility to the business’s demand for a nearly complete shift, in just days, to remote work. Many organizations were able to continue operating only because of the technology team’s rapid response. But IT can’t rest on its laurels. Now that there is time to think, plan and optimize, it has become clear that enhancements and new functionality to support remote and hybrid work are necessary.
For the next stage, IT must focus on the hallmarks of successful hybrid work 2.0 plans. The first major consideration is to move from numerous point solutions to a single, comprehensive digital workspace platform for hybrid work that provides employees with a more consistent digital experience and makes life much easier for the IT operations teams. Such a platform will eliminate the need for one-off integrations as employees wrangle their unique home setups to accommodate the business’s requirements, as well as the need to support a huge range of products. Moving to a cohesive digital workspace platform enables IT teams to be more agile, deliver new functionality faster and close security vulnerabilities that can arise from a disjointed solution.
The strategy for hybrid work 2.0 must support two major goals. First, there must be obvious and demonstrable improvement in the employee experience. Second, IT must implement a more efficient, agile and secure platform to empower the organization.
The Digital Employee Experience Comes to the Fore in Remote and Hybrid Workstyles
Remote and hybrid workstyles brought digital issues surrounding employee experience to the forefront. Coupled with the difficulty of finding workers, the need for a well-received digital platform for employees became a focus of top management. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit study on the experience of work, 84% of managers agree or strongly agree that a poorly implemented digital workspace is problematic.
With more than a year of work-from-home experience under their belts, employees are frustrated by some technology solutions currently used for hybrid and remote work. Secure access is a key issue. Cyber fatigue resulting from the demand that employees be partly responsible for security is problematic. Consumer-grade collaboration tools have been found wanting. There are too many single-function products, and the lack of a standard platform creates frustration as employees must switch between many products that do the same thing. Finally, the workspace may change depending on what device the employee is using.
This is why the only effective way to improve the digital employee experience is the deployment of a comprehensive digital employee workspace. A single workspace that is secure by design and reduces employee involvement in security and IT hygiene delivers the modern user experience that employees expect. For example, single sign-on (SSO) is a huge improvement over having to log in every time an employee switches apps. In addition, it is now possible to deliver new apps or more data much more quickly, so employees’ perception is that the organization is enabling them, not holding them back.
Digital Workspaces Enable IT Teams
IT teams put in place many elements of the first generation of remote work solutions at a time when speed mattered most. A number of these products need to be rethought to provide an enterprise-grade environment from an IT operations perspective.
The starting point for moving forward is to make a move to the cloud. To begin with, cloud economics will reduce the overall cost of remote and hybrid work. In addition, cloud will provide IT with better scalability and agility for meeting changing employee and organizational needs. Perhaps most important, a cloud-based digital workspace has much more designed-in security capability and eliminates vulnerabilities in consumer-grade remote-work tools and security gaps in the user environment that open attack vectors. Support costs are also reduced when employees are doing their work in a single digital workspace that has SSO. Calls asking, “How do I …” and “Can you reset my password?” will drop substantially.
The next generation of remote and hybrid work demands a purpose-built solution like Citrix Workspace. Having the right technology in place to support remote and hybrid work is essential, since this trend has been adopted as the long-term mode of operations by most organizations. This encompasses:
- Accelerating IT modernization: Organizations are advancing digital transformation and increasing agility to be better prepared for unplanned events and opportunities, speeding up the shift to cloud and modernizing the application stack.
- Empowering secure, distributed work: As workloads move to the cloud and organizations enable hybrid workforces (back in offices, remotely and a combination of the two), the attack surface is expanding and requiring intelligent, contextual security for all access types and work scenarios—regardless of role, location, device and other factors.
- Boosting worker productivity: As distributed workforces increase the likelihood of communication and collaboration gaps among teams, organizations are focusing on delivering the tools necessary to help teams and individuals be more productive.
Even those organizations going back to in-office workplaces will need better support for mobile and traveling professionals. The days of simply providing a network password and VPN are over.