By Sumeet Wadhwani
Jr. Editor, Spiceworks Ziff Davis
An overwhelming majority (99%) of end-user computing stakeholders said they face security, compliance, and other challenges when supporting remote workers. Read the full article on ToolBox.
Cloud PC solutions company Workspot recently released The State of Remote Work 2022 report. Workspot analyzed the remote working trends necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges that arose, how IT decision-makers dealt with them and the way forward in terms of budget allocation to support remote work in the future.
The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how businesses operate. A lot has been said and written about the ‘new normal,’ so we’ll steer clear of piling on to that and say this: even in the absence of global healthcare, social and political crises affecting billions of people every year, a new normal emerges.
Technology is one of the factors that engenders a shift in the way organizations work each passing year across most, if not all, sectors. Technology has also sustained business operations through the pandemic, which has proven to be a catalyst for change across critical industries.
However, remote work, one of the most significant trends the pandemic gave birth to, has had an overwhelming impact on the technology sector. The State of Remote Work 2022 by Workspot outlines this impact in terms of challenges and opportunities that go hand-in-hand with the IT modernization brought about by remote work.
The cloud-native SaaS company found that only 30% of end-user computing decision-makers are amply resourced to fulfill their remote work obligations to workers. 37% said they are managing just about, while 32% said they lack the necessary resources to support their company’s remote work needs.
Challenges in Remote Work
Security emerged as the biggest challenge for IT departments across organizations. A remote workforce expands the attack surface and weakens the security perimeter of organizations. In Workspot’s survey, 67% of respondents said securing the new perimeter required new approaches and tools, 54% said it is harder to secure devices outside the corporate firewall, 51% said risk evaluation for unknown environments is difficult, and 48% faced identity management challenges.
The challenge in securing the remote workforce over on-premise systems was prevalent across all sectors, with financial services and insurance stakeholders stating it was the hardest (82%), followed by manufacturing (79%), healthcare (72%), and software (63%).
Besides security, compliance, device performance delivery, data management on local devices, and team collaboration were the top five challenges IT teams faced. An overwhelming majority (99%) of end-user computing stakeholders said they face challenges when supporting remote workers.
Remote Work Challenges for IT | Source: Workspot
As a result of remote work, the present-day security posture remains unaffected for 38% of organizations, is slightly more secure for 17%, is significantly more secure for 5%, is somewhat less secure for 38%, and considerably less secure for only 4% of organizations.
What Organizations Think About Remote Work
Over 45% of respondents said that the rush to remote work in the pandemic forced them to take less than ideal decisions. As a result, their organizations are now going back to “do it the right way.”
Despite the associated challenges and the need to rectify hasty (but necessary) decisions, remote work is seen mainly as a net positive change. Workspot noted that respondents believe a remote or hybrid workforce model is essential today to minimize attrition under The Great Resignation and become more competitive in their recruitment strategy.
99% of end-user computing stakeholders agreed that an option to work remotely or in a hybrid work setup is helpful for talent recruitment and hiring and employee retention. This number is 100% in the U.S. and Canada and 95% in the rest of the world.
By industry, all respondents from manufacturing, healthcare, financial services and insurance, while 97% of respondents from the software sector believe that remote or hybrid work helps hire or retain talent.
Despite team collaboration being the fifth most challenging aspect of remote work, 71% of respondents said employees are a bit or much more productive than before. 14% said there’s no difference, while 15% said they’re less productive at their jobs.
Where Are Organizations Allocating Their IT Budgets
Organizational budgets are rising for technologies that support remote work. Security is a no-brainer considering it was the most prominent challenge organizations faced. The cloud’s potential is also being explored fully by over a third of organizations, not to mention collaboration and productivity tools.
Over half of organizations also focus on making employees more comfortable by providing audio/video equipment, etc.
Cloud is perhaps the biggest winner in a remote work environment. Workspot highlighted the benefits of the cloud, such as scalability, eliminating data center investments and other IT support costs, and ensuring business continuity, reliability, etc.
93% of respondents agreed that the cloud is vital to enabling a remote workforce successfully, and 83% even said their cloud strategy has changed due to remote work.
Note: Workspot’s State of Remote Work 2022 report is based on responses by 304 IT decision-making at companies with between 200 to over 5,000 desktops and employees. Respondents work at companies across financial services and insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, education, government, technology (software and others), services, retail, telecommunications, transportation, energy and utilities, non-profit, construction, engineering, and architecture.