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The pandemic shifted the way we work forever by normalizing remote and hybrid work. With employees now able to access company assets from anywhere in the world, what hybrid work technology solutions need to emerge in order to support this new way of working?
Our 2022 Tech Summit Panel “Is Hybrid Work the Future of Work?” explored that question in depth.
Some of the most influential leaders in hybrid work technology spoke about their experiences covering everything from how tech leaders can prepare for what’s next to what kind of solutions are needed for the future.
Our speakers for this panel (moderated by yours truly) were:
- Tim Allen, Executive Vice President, Business Development and Founding Partner, Evolve IP
- Artie Chang, CEO, PanTerra Networks
- Tami Duncan, Head of NA Mass Market Sales, Zoom
Read on to learn more about what the experts have to say, and for more insights watch the panel video above.
Remote Work: A Rapidly Changing World
Remote and hybrid work had been steadily increasing as an option in the years before the pandemic, but 2020 saw a huge shift that normalized the practice, some are saying forever.
According to WFH Research, the increase of work from home since the pandemic was equal to 30 years of pre-pandemic work-from-home growth. Plus, as of July 2022, a little over 30% of people are working full-time on-site, leaving roughly 70% working from home in some fashion.
While more people are working from home than ever, some people are still facing a return to the office. West Monroe found that 68% of their respondents said that their employees want certainty and clarity regarding the post-pandemic working model.
What does this mean about how we view work?
Tami Duncan of Zoom shared, “work isn’t a place you go any more, it’s a thing you do.”
The question then becomes how do we hold people accountable to doing the thing called work wherever they are?
According to Tami, the challenge is to leverage hybrid work technology that allows people to take more control of their lives, which in turn attracts better talent.
Tim Allen of Evolve IP notes that unless everyone demands a full return to work, no one will be able to. As long as some companies still allow remote and hybrid work, those companies will use that benefit to attract better talent.
In their 2022 Work Trend Index, Microsoft found that 80% of employees wanted to go or stay remote, but 54% of managers said they feared productivity would suffer as a result. While most employees advocated for remote work, they too acknowledged the challenges of doing some tasks remotely.
Plus, 30% of respondents said that brainstorming and generating new ideas was the most challenging kind of work to do remotely. Planning (17%), sharing information (17%), and problem-solving (16%) were also identified as challenging work activities to do remotely.
The challenges of hybrid work are ongoing, and panelists shared that many key stakeholders told them that they wanted to “return to the office”. When pressed to explain what that would look like, however, what stakeholders were really proposing was a hybrid work model that required specific hybrid work technology.
Why Remote Work Technology is Stressing Out IT Teams
While many employees are eager to take advantage of hybrid or remote work, tech and IT leaders are left to come up with hybrid work technology that satisfies both employees and managers.
Artie Chang of PanTerra made the point that while we all understand how remote work benefits employees, the end users for hybrid work technology platforms are IT leaders. The onus is on technology partners to assuage IT leaders fears and provide solutions that address their pain points.
As part of this discussion, I speculated if CIOs and IT teams are really being included in conversations about how to design hybrid work, or are they just being asked to find solutions and put out fires?
The panel discussed how hybrid work modes add stress for IT teams because they have less control over work environments. With hybrid and remote work, endpoints like laptops and phones are no longer physically in the same space. Not having direct access to networks is another source of stress.
Most of the panelists agreed that it’s on technology service providers to create hybrid work technology that addresses these very real concerns. The stress that IT teams feel is a result of holes in the infrastructure that needs to be plugged up with innovative solutions. The real challenge is to produce tools that reduce pain points for IT teams, give managers a sense of control, and don’t feel invasive to employees.
The Future of Work Relies on Hybrid Work Technology
It’s clear that the future of work is hybrid. This means that hybrid work technology that addresses these challenges of will be essential in lowering the burden for IT teams and creating better environments for employees.
Want to learn more about what the experts are saying about hybrid work? Watch the full video above to learn about:
- The role of handsets and phones in hybrid work environments.
- How these hybrid work technology experts design new solutions for hybrid work
- Thoughts about DaaS as a hybrid work technology.
- Challenges in implementing video in remote desktop.
- Where the experts think hybrid work technology will be in five to 10 years.