Once the COVID-19 pandemic ends, many aspects of our daily life will be changed forever. One significant change is that more people will be working from home, meaning organizations must enable work from anywhere. The functionality for that must go beyond simply providing basic access. A robust, effective, and productive work-from-home environment is an absolute necessity. A recent Citrix study of knowledge workers found that 36% expect that their company will allow them to work from home on a regular basis in the future. Organizations that want to meet that expectation and retain the best workers will need to offer an effective work-from-home digital experience.
And the pandemic has certainly shown many firms that remote work is a viable alternative. For example, Barclays CEO Jes Staley has said that, even with 70,000 staff working from home, it was possible to keep a complex organization running smoothly. Mondelez CEO Kirk Van de Put said that the company is rethinking where people work and that it may not need as many formal offices as work from home continues.
To get the most out of remote work, organizations need more functional and secure remote-work solutions than are currently in place. As remote work becomes de rigueur, it is essential to optimize the remote-work digital experience and eliminate any infrastructure bottlenecks or limitations that were found during Remote Work 1.0. The Citrix Knowledge Worker study found that some very real limitations are currently reducing productivity. These include:
- A third of knowledge workers report that their broadband connection doesn’t provide enough speed.
- The same number (33%) report that security protocols and the lack of single sign-on (SSO) make working remotely difficult.
- Nearly a quarter (23%) don’t have access to all the apps they need.
- A slow or problematic VPN impacts 16% of remote workers.
The workers have identified issues that need to be addressed, but they are not alone. IT and management also realize that there is more to do. Another Citrix survey found that 70% of IT leaders are worried about information security being compromised because of employees working at home. Of additional concern is the potential for malware or other threats on an employee’s device; 54% of IT leaders in the same survey noted that there has been a spike in employees installing and using unsanctioned software. Using VPNs to secure remote work has also proved problematic. The survey showed that 23% of the respondents reported that unplanned/unscheduled VPN shutdowns have negatively impacted their productivity.
The good news is that IT teams managed to support a massive move to remote work without the systems breaking. However, it is also clear that to enable Remote Work 2.0, it is essential to upgrade and improve the infrastructure supporting remote work. A laundry list of items must be addressed: security, application availability, device flexibility, simplification of security and management tasks, and improved performance.
All of these demands can be met with next-generation digital workspace solutions such as Citrix Workspace. As we move forward, demand will rise for a seamless and more automated platform for remote work. During the crisis and its immediate aftermath, workers were more accepting of limitations or workarounds that were necessary to get things done. As we move into the future, there will be much less tolerance. Digital workspace solutions provide a much more seamless and less intrusive platform for remote work. One example of this is SSO, which eliminates much of the password hassle that workers experience in legacy remote-work environments. In addition, solutions such as Citrix Workspace are cloud-based, providing better performance than most legacy implementations.
The time is now to implement a platform that is up to the task of providing a long-term solution for an optimal remote-work experience. IT teams now have some breathing room to choose and deploy a purpose-built remote-work platform that will solve the problems listed above, while positioning the firm to provide even more functionality for workers in the future.