How has the rapid shift to distributed work affected IT teams? What are their thoughts on the future? Here are three key findings from our UK-based study.
For many people, the abruptness with which their work life changed at the start of the pandemic might already feel like a distant memory. In just a few strange weeks, lockdowns and social distancing orders turned daily routines upside down – but a spirit of cooperation, understanding, and sheer adaptability means that it wasn’t long before we learned to be as productive as ever, blending careers and personal lives in new ways.
IT teams, on the other hand, are unlikely to have forgotten all the work that went into that shift. The large-scale move to remote work was only made possible by untold efforts to prepare devices, shore up network capacity, implement security measures, and any number of other vital tasks. And, partly thanks to that work, we now find ourselves in a newly flexible landscape where jobs can be done from everywhere.
Over that period, how has this shift affected IT teams, and how are they now feeling about the future?
To find out, Splashtop recently commissioned research talking to 1,000 IT decision makers in businesses in the United Kingdom about the impact of remote access and support tools on productivity. A detailed look at the results can be found in our new report, From Disrupted to Distributed: How IT is navigating the changing work environment.
As a preview, here are three of our most interesting findings – and what they mean for you.
For every story of IT enabling remote working during the pandemic, there has been another warning of a rising wave of workplace stress and burnout. With less clear boundaries between our professional and personal lives, many businesses have struggled to keep a handle on their employees’ workloads, leading to challenges around both mental health and physical sickness.
It was encouraging to see, then, that 42% of our respondents said that their organization’s use of work-from-everywhere tools has resulted in greater workplace satisfaction. With the additional stressors of home working being added to already challenging job roles, businesses cannot afford to have IT operating as a further barrier to productivity. When strategically implemented, remote access and support make connecting to work a frictionless, intuitive experience.
The result is a workforce which can focus on what it’s there to do, spending more time on rewarding tasks and feeling purposeful.
More Remote, Less Stress
A happier, more satisfied workforce should also result in a better experience for the IT help desk and service desk teams who field queries and fix issues – and, sure enough, 34% of respondents say that their remote access and support technologies help to make them feel less stressed at work.
For IT teams in particular, however, reducing stress requires remote access which is secure and scalable, as well as easy to use. Defending against cyber-attacks and data loss is at the heart of IT’s remit, and this need has been accentuated by remote working, as more devices, shadow IT, and greater reliance on technologies like VPNs grow the potential for ransomware and other threats to make themselves known.
Following a period in which so much transformation took place as a matter of urgent necessity, businesses will need to once again invest in getting ahead of the curve on issues like these. For many, that will mean putting solutions in place which empower security, in order to maintain this promising signal around IT stress levels.
As they do so, IT will find its strategic importance to the business continue to grow; long an enabler of productivity, it will be called on much more to set the direction for future productivity gains in the new reality of distributed work.
This underlines the importance of our finding that 36% of respondents believe that remote access and support tools give their users and colleagues more confidence in IT’s decision-making capabilities. In a context where an employee’s success or failure might depend entirely on technology’s ability to enable their work, it’s easy to imagine disaster scenarios where organizations lose faith in IT teams. This rising stature of IT as strategic thinkers is a vital factor for longer-term business health.
While these results paint a positive picture of the current and future reality of distributed work, it’s also clear that there is more work to be done in order to make sustainable, proactive solutions the norm. IT decision makers also told us that they are working more hours in order to support remote work and believe that the distributed workforce is likely to become more complex over time, and, interestingly, even that many of them are called on to provide emotional support to employees. As we move into a world where work from everywhere becomes the norm, businesses may well no longer distinguish between workers in the office and workers operating elsewhere – it will just be regular work.