The shift to work from home (WFH) and work from anywhere (WFA) is resulting in profound effects on businesses’ digital transformation as well as data security concerns.
According to Lenovo’s “Future of Work and Digital Transformation” study, most businesses (83 percent) expect to work remote at least half the time, whereas 60 percent of employees agree and are happy to do so.
These new findings are part of a global survey of more than 8,000 employees and IT decision-makers across 14 markets from companies of all sizes on the impact of remote work, including job satisfaction, technology challenges and solutions conducted in early 2021.
Among the key insights is that workers have hit their stride navigating their new WFH lives. Most employees (83 percent) want a hybrid work model post-COVID, which businesses say are more than happy to accommodate because they know it’s a way to drive employee engagement and attract new talent.
Enabling remote work has meant a change in digital adoption, with an increased usage of personal devices for work; wider adoption of collaboration cloud and software; and a heightened focus on data security among IT functions across businesses of all sizes.
The study also shows that trusted technology providers will need to play a key role in developing future digital strategies, while Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) is gaining traction among larger businesses to make it easier to provide employees with up-to-date technology devices and to free up precious resources for more strategic priorities.
“With businesses and their employees both optimistic about a future in hybrid work and remote collaboration, today’s IT departments are faced with the rising resource costs of data security and compliance,” said Gianfranco Lanci, President and Chief Operating Officer, Lenovo. “More than ever, businesses need reliable technology partners to fully manage their hardware, software and services to maximize value and boost security.”
Contrary to initial concerns that remote work would lead to a rise in employee burnout within the first year of the pandemic, the Lenovo study showed most workers have adapted remarkably well to WFH and WFA.
Seventy percent say the flexibility leaves them more satisfied with their job overall. About 60 percent of surveyed employees now prefer remote work at least half the time, while over one-third want to WFH/WFA most or all the time. This sentiment increases among workers in larger companies, with approximately two-thirds of those respondents preferring to work remotely at least half the time.
Employees nevertheless cite challenges. Chief among them is slow or unstable Internet connections at home. Additionally, about half the employees in medium-sized businesses (50 percent) and small or very small businesses (42 percent) report delays or challenges in getting IT support when needed.
Businesses may want to consider always-connected PCs with integrated LTE or 5G to offer employees freedom from reliance on the home Wi-Fi network alone and to provide higher security. Smarter devices, services and software solutions that can self-diagnose and pre-empt IT issues also can also help small businesses that don’t typically have a robust IT support team.
With 90 percent of workers surveyed still wanting the option to go into the office to connect with colleagues and 56 percent saying they are more productive at home, it’s clear the role of the office will be changing. The office is no longer the place where work gets done; it’s evolving into a place where one can connect and collaborate while leaving deep work for focused time at home.
The blurring lines of workers’ personal and professional digital devices show how we work
Remote work also has led to a new suite of digital hardware, software and services solutions. One’s collection of devices and technology for work has become increasingly personal and collaborative. Employees are increasingly leaning into the use of their personal devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets for work, with 79 percent of employee respondents saying they’re using their smartphones for work-related tasks such as voice and video calls, email and work chat.
When it comes to PCs, technologies such as AI-based noise cancellation during calls, webcam privacy shutter for when the camera’s not in use, eye care for displays’ natural low blue light and better device cooling all rank as the top smart device features across employees of all business sizes.
However, workers aren’t taking enough advantage of company programs to finance their technology purchases. While 80 percent of IT departments reported they are willing to cover purchases of work-related equipment, sometimes as little as 22 percent of employees have used these policies.
Unsurprisingly, collaboration cloud and software tools for needs like videocalls and simultaneous document collaboration are now essential for a whopping 97 percent of employees. Almost two-thirds of respondents also say that these tools help improve productivity and efficiency.
With the increasing use of remotely connected cloud and collaboration tools data security has jumped to the forefront of IT considerations and is now the number one priority for digital transformation. This concern is putting a growing strain on IT department resources. ITDMs feel more prepared for another pandemic than against data threats. Data security and compliance are siphoning the most time and money from IT functions, while most large and medium-sized companies already subscribe to an IT security service.
Access the full study findings here: https://news.lenovo.com/press-kits/lenovo-future-of-work-study-march-2021/