Devised for work: The future of workplace is in the hybrid model

September 02, 2021 2:00 AM

We recently conducted a ‘Future of Work and Digital Transformation’ study that indicated the majority of organisations hope to work remotely at least half of the time.

Shailendra Katyal PortraitShailendra Katyal Portrait

By Shailendra Katyal

The pandemic triggered unprecedented disruptions in work, school, social connections, and many industries. It has also accelerated digital transformation into warp speed, creating radical shifts in the new “everything-from-home” environment. One year after the global remote work revolution, the shift to working from home (WFH) and work from anywhere (WFA) is already resulting in profound effects on businesses’ digital transformation as well as data security concerns. We recently conducted a ‘Future of Work and Digital Transformation’ study that indicated the majority of organisations hope to work remotely at least half of the time.

Employees embrace hybrid work: As opposed to the initial concerns that remote work would lead to a rise in employee burnout within the first year of the pandemic, the Lenovo study showed that most workers have adapted remarkably well to WFH and WFA – 70% said that the flexibility left them more satisfied with their job overall. About 60% of surveyed employees now prefer remote work at least half the time, while over one-third want WFH/WFA most or all of the time. Employees have also cited a number of challenges which include slow internet connections at home, challenges in getting IT support and report delays for SMBs.

New suite of digital hardware, software and services solutions: Employees are increasingly leaning into the use of their personal devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets for work, with 79% of employee respondents saying they’re now using their smartphones for work-related tasks such as voice and video calls, email and work chat. When it comes to PCs, technologies such as AI-based noise cancellation during calls, webcam privacy shutter for when the camera’s not in use, eye care for displays’ natural low blue light, and better device cooling all rank as the top smart device features.

Digital security: With the expanding utilisation of remotely-connected cloud and collaboration tools – where even smart home devices may be a hazard to organisation security as employees sign on from home – data security has now become the number one priority for digital transformation. Against these growing concerns, almost all businesses report having some sort of continuity plan in place, such as cloud-based data backup (45%), physical data backup (39%), and data security training (39%).

Some global insights from the report:

  • Around 70% of global employees surveyed report higher job satisfaction and 56% feel more productive at home
  • Employees prefer the flexibility of working remotely, with 88% of participants from large companies wanting WFH or WFA at least some of the time
  • Management agrees with these benefits, as 83% of IT decision-makers (ITDMs) from businesses surveyed expect post-pandemic work to be remote at least half the time
  • Data security ranks as the number one most time-consuming challenge among IT departments, study shows, with ITDMs feeling more prepared to deal with another pandemic than security threats
  • The majority of businesses (63%) surveyed are interested in device-as-a-service (DaaS) offerings because they free up valuable time and resources for more strategic projects.

While remote working existed in parts even before the pandemic, the past year has taught us that it’s possible to work remotely. With businesses and their employees both optimistic about a future in hybrid work and remote collaboration, today’s IT departments are faced with the rising resource costs of data security and compliance. More than ever, businesses need reliable technology partners to fully manage their hardware, software and services to maximise value and boost security.

The writer is managing director, Lenovo India

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