Hybrid Work Is Dead, Long Live Flexible Work

Hybrid work was meant to be a temporary fix during the pandemic. The future of work is firmly rooted in flexible work. Read on to learn more. 

Home office, coffee shop, conventional office…where we work matters less than ever. That’s the sentiment voiced by both knowledge workers and executive teams alike. Knowledge workers used to face a tradeoff—gain a quality work-life balance by working remotely or advance their career by working in the office. That tradeoff has melted away. Today, 72% of remote-working employees say work from home (WFH) hasn’t affected their ability to advance in their job, according to a January 2022 U.S. adult workforce survey by Pew Research.

Executive teams, seeing great opportunities to reduce operational costs and get more productivity from their employees, have also made plans that all but eliminate the ‘old’ hybrid work model. REI just recently built their corporate headquarters which they are already attempting to sell.

Meanwhile, Zillow is allowing a work-from-anywhere operational model. Hybrid work arrangements that mix WFH and in-person are the wrong approach, said Meghan Reibstein, vice president of project management and flexible work at Zillow, in an interview with Inc. Magazine. Zillow now has a flexible work policy that allows employees to come into the office or work remotely as they prefer; move if they want; and seek what’s best for their work-life balance. Reibstein says it has led to a huge increase in job applications.

The bottom line: Work is work, wherever it’s done.

Hybrid work is so 2021, flexible work is the future

Over the past year, we’ve heard from many of our customers that the phrase “hybrid work” is outdated. They saw it as a temporary state of a blended work from home + office arrangement during the pandemic. However, they believe the future of work is firmly rooted in distributed or flexible work.

This radical change isn’t just a different approach to remote work. It’s a foundational rethinking of how we do business, how we do our jobs, and how we learn. A global movement affecting every industry, it’s part of bigger conversations and innovations around the future of work. In fact, we’ve heard directly from Splashtop customers that they don’t like the word ‘hybrid’. They’ve always viewed hybrid work as a temporary state. Moving forward, they believe that work should be flexible. They also want to drop the jargon, work is work.

Splashtop sees the change happening in the education industry as well, at schools ranging from secondary to university level. 92% of students expect to have 24/7 access to campus computers to continue learning, according to The State of Education publication by Splashtop. Moreover, 90% believe that every student should have the ability to learn from home regardless of bandwidth or their type of computer.

Recruiting firm Robert Half has even proposed that organizations hire a Chief Remote Work Officer (CRWO), someone responsible for the full employee experience of the remote or flexible work experience.

Challenges to making flexible work the norm

There’s still work to be done in order to establish fully flexible work and learning environments. Educational institutions must realize that 63% of students do not have access to computers at home. Instead, they resort to using Chromebooks, iPads or other tablets. They need technologies in place that enable them to work from any device. And if problems arise, they need to be fully supported by IT help desks on those devices.

The bring your own device (BYOD) challenge also exists for businesses. In fact, supporting flexible work in business brings several additional challenges. First, the Pew Research survey showed that 60% of remote workers feel less connected to their co-workers. That statistic should serve as a warning, given the Great Resignation that began in 2021 and continues today.

The Microsoft Annual Work Trend Index Report for 2021, based on a survey of more than 30,000 global workers, showed that 41% were considering quitting or changing professions. Imagine how much higher that number is among remote workers who feel disconnected from co-workers. BBC Worklife underscored this issue in a recent article entitled, Why Workers Might Eventually Reject Hybrid Work. “In the immediate [term], experts suggest employers need to keep a pulse on how workers are feeling about the hybrid-work model,” the article stated.

The need to resolve these challenges quickly is where remote access tools come into play. Organizations are reimagining their approach to remote work and looking to upgrade their technologies to make it simpler and more secure. They’re adopting new technologies, like augmented reality (AR), to make it more efficient, useful, and innovative. By doing this, they want to make working and learning more accessible and equitable.

Employees and students will prioritize remote access when selecting jobs, education, training, meetings, collaborations and innovation.

How remote access enables flexible work

Remote access ensures your remote users have access to in-school or in-office computing resources wherever they are performing their work. Many remote workers are unable to access all the software applications and files they need to perform their jobs remotely, according to an O2 Business study on what drives productivity and growth. This is usually the result of personal devices that cannot run the same applications that their in-person computers can (video editing software, CAD programs, graphic design tools, etc.).

With Splashtop, you can give your users secure remote access and control over their school or office computers from anywhere, while using any device – including their personal devices. Splashtop delivers an in-person experience that’s so fast, simple and secure, it’s like they’re in front of their office computer. Here are a few critical performance features:

  • 4k streaming at frame rates up to 60 per second
  • iMac Pro Retina 5k streaming at low latency
  • Configurable settings for optimal performance
  • Optimized encoding/decoding engine leveraging the latest acceleration from AMD and NVIDIA

Organizations that have adopted a BYOD (bring your own device) strategy want to take a single-platform approach. This allows users to seamlessly switch between mobile, desktop and laptop devices. A modern remote access solution like Splashtop also provides full remote support for BYOD. This means help desks can support remote users facing technical issues on both school/company-issued devices and their personal devices, running on any OS (including Linux).

The bottom line

Organizations that understand the benefits of flexible, remote work will likely outperform their peers in 2022. The future of work and education are dependent on employee and student engagement. In short, it’s important to not only embrace remote work’s obvious advantages, but also double-down on making flexibility core to work and learning experiences.

Are you ready to embrace a flexible work or learning environment?

View our products page to see which option is best for you and your organization.


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