Telecommuting: hybrid work is already the new normal and has challenges to overcome

We have learned many things from the pandemic caused by COVID-19. Companies have understood that they can maintain their business operations if they invest in technology and digitization; workers and to a great extent their managers, that one could be as productive or more working from home than in the organization’s offices.

Shortly after, both have also understood that despite the undoubted advantages of remote work, social contact is still necessary and that on many occasions, the highest levels of creativity and problem solving are reached not when we communicate through Zoom, but when we gather around a table to discuss different ideas.

And so, if in 2021 the words of the year in the corporate world have been “telework”, in 2022 it has not been long in being replaced by “hybrid work”, which implies greater flexibility at all levels. That this hybrid or mixed way of working is here to stay is not just what we say. Studies such as the one just published by the MIT Sloan Management Review for which 1,561 IT managers have been surveyed (from CIOs, to CEOs, through system administrators and IT personnel) from 12 countries and in which they reach quite revealing conclusions about this hybrid panorama that is presented.

The main? That 35% already consider that offering workers the possibility of carrying out their work remotely is an essential condition for a job offer to be attractive, while 59% state that offering this possibility is one of the advantages that can be offered to any worker to increase their commitment to the company. In other words: companies that do not offer their employees the possibility of teleworking start at a disadvantage.

And although this is so, it is precisely IT managers who are the first to be aware of how complexity grows exponentially in this hybrid scenario. It increases first and foremost at the organizational level, from how office space is distributed to how we make sure we keep the sense of belonging to the organization; from how we make working from home less of an hour, to how we make meetings more productive and inclusive, perhaps including people who are in the office with another group participating online.

The technological challenges

In this mixed model, it also means overcoming technological challenges of all kinds, starting with something as “trivial” as achieving quality videoconferences, an area in which we have precisely seen how technology companies have stepped on the accelerator in the last year, with innovations have included background noise reduction, real-time language translation or a new generation of smart webcams suffering people. That this week HP has invested no less than 3,300 million dollars to take over the manufacturer of video conferencing solutions Poly gives us some clue of the great interest that there is in this market.

But offering a quality online meeting is only the first of the problems that companies have to overcome. As more and more technical managers are realizing, the lack of efficiency in network connectivity when working remotely can be compounded by other risk factors such as not have enough bandwidthtraffic interruptions and, as a consequence of all of the above, a poor performance of critical applications of the company.

Added to these “technical drawbacks” is the need to reinforce the security of the connections of workers who carry out their activity remotely, where it is of vital importance that can have secure access to the corporate network to, among other things, be able to use critical applications in their daily tasks.

Work from Anywhere

Where VPN solutions do not always arrive and where even VDI platforms fall short, what we have been seeing in recent months is an offer of new platforms that, largely based on the cloud, aim to replicate on computers of “remote workers”, the experience of doing it in the office, that is: to ensure a quality connection with the company’s data center, that this connection is secure and that critical applications work without problems.

One of the most interesting and the one we talked about at MCPRO a few days ago is «Work from Anywhere» a VMware SD-WAN solution that ensures a productive and safe environment for employees to work remotely. It is not the only one, of course, but precisely because of that approach to hybrid work that we talked about before, it is one that is worth considering.

About the technological challenges (beyond those we have mentioned) that companies face and the best way to respond to them, VMware speaks precisely to us in this technical document that we encourage you to download. Among other things, because you will not only discover how to solve the main problems that most companies associate with these teleworking environments, but you will also understand how a solution can be implemented that responds to these problems in a comfortable and simple way.

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