Technology Efficiency Challenges in a Hybrid Work Environment
One in five U.S. professionals (22%) say poor performing or broken IT equipment has meant a loss of productivity during the pandemic, according to a study of 2,000 U.S.-based office workers published by IT services company Velocity Smart Technology.
Nearly 40 percent of respondents indicated that they waited longer to solve IT issues while working from home. Half say they’ve waited at least three hours while an IT issue was sorted out. In addition, 57% experienced issues related to hardware replacement.
Under a hybrid model, IT organizations deal with the inability to troubleshoot issues in person. Hardware replacements involve the need for the remote worker to ship hardware to the company for evaluation and repair while the company is shipping replacement equipment to the worker, causing delays in work and increased costs of “redundant equipment”.
But the loss of the physical touchpoints is far from the only issue making IT service delivery more complex. In addition to the increased potential for cyber risk exposure, the set of tools powering work is now richer, creating a potential for “shadow IT”. In the process of adapting to full-time remote operations, employees gained tech savviness, and now Gartner research estimates that 18% of workers see themselves as digital technology experts. Over half say they use personally obtained applications or web services for collaboration. These self-provided tools results in less IT staff visibility into operations, increasing challenges associated with predicting daily workloads become under a flexible model. Effective management may require increased spending on tools for virtual collaboration, secure virtual connectivity, and enhanced support for a broader application set and increased number of work locations.
The need to quickly stand-up remote work models led to many IT departments adopting quick fixes out of a necessity to support their workforce, rather than putting in place a long-term plan that can be scaled. This has led to unequal experiences between employees at home or elsewhere, ultimately impacting business performance.
Companies that have begun the process of establishing a hybrid work environment also report a spike in calls to their call center for people to get reactivated. Pre-pandemic, IT department toolkits included collaboration software, productivity tools and other enterprise applications. Now they must also run new platforms, such as workspace scheduling and digital onboarding tools. With businesses simultaneously operating remotely and in-person, businesses need to set up software, hardware and cloud tools to enable digital parity for workers, supporting the ebb and flow of employees as they move between their home and office worksites.