AppNeta Survey Reveals IT Expectations as Companies Consider Work from Anywhere

AppNeta, a leader in actionable 4-dimensional network performance monitoring, revealed the results of its 2021 State of Work from Anywhere Outlook Report, which identified end-user expectations for the future of work, highlighting the rise of “work from anywhere” and how this shift in the workforce model will impact IT teams.

As companies across the nation continue remote work, the rise in vaccine availability has challenged business leaders to identify a logical next step for their employees, keeping safety and talent retention top of mind.

The study, of 1,000 people across the United States, examined the views of Americans who rely on the internet to do their jobs and identified critical areas to address for a business to take on work from anywhere model.

According to AppNeta’s report, nearly 80 percent state their preferred work environment long-term would include an element of remote work. Employees are looking for flexibility and a hybrid model, either hoping to work remotely permanently or have the option to come into a physical office only when needed.

Further, nearly three-quarters would be interested in their employer adopting a “work from anywhere” approach, allowing them the freedom to pick and choose where they set up work each day.

Since March of 2020, 21 percent of respondents relocated from their original address, with the American workforce now nearly evenly dispersed among urban areas, suburban areas and rural areas, identifying the need for companies to be able to provide the same level of user-experience across vastly different regions.

This broader trend of urban decentralization creates new challenges for IT teams, as delivering optimal internet connectivity to residential and rural communities can be a challenging task, requiring employers and IT teams to set user expectations around the quality of their network performance.

Of the technology-related issues causing frustration in the past year for remote employees, the biggest gripe was internet connectivity, with almost half (44 percent) of respondents expressing their frustration. Another top stressor was issues with video calls, with 40 percent of respondents identifying freezing screens and challenges with popular tools such as Zoom.

More than one-third of end-users shared that they were frustrated by technology challenges and experiences with their employer’s IT team since the pandemic, even though 21 percent of respondents acknowledged the IT team may be doing their best in the circumstances.

“Now a year into the pandemic we are seeing organizations define more concrete plans for their long-term work strategy. Whether the approach is fully remote, or a hybrid setting, IT should be involved in these conversations early on,” said John Tewfic, Director of Global Alliances, AppNeta. “Anything is possible with the right resources, but Enterprise IT, and the Solution Partners they depend on, absolutely need to play a strategic role in how the business transforms to better support the new style of working in the year ahead. That may include adding additional solutions to their arsenal.”

As business leaders strategize what the “new normal” will look like for their organizations, those adopting “work from anywhere” will want to set clear expectations for IT support with remote employees.

In a “work from anywhere” environment, employee expectations are high, with nearly half of those surveyed wanting support from the IT team with critical applications they use, 37 percent expecting support for internet connectivity issues, 35 percent expecting support with hardware and one-third expecting IT to support them in learning any new tools provided by the company.

This year, the IT team at many organizations has been in high demand. According to survey results, nearly 30 percent of employees anticipate a response from IT within the hour of them reaching out with a tech-related issue. An additional 33 percent think a response within the business day is acceptable, while unsurprisingly only 11 percent feel a response within the week is acceptable.

In a “work from anywhere” model, employee expectations need to be tempered in order to maintain clarity around IT’s responsibilities and protect them from burnout.

Where possible, business leaders should add clarity around responsibilities and response time and seek out technology solutions that are able to scale to the dispersed workforce and assist in network performance monitoring to ease the burden of internet connectivity and support with critical apps.