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1E 2021 Predictions: Embracing the anywhere-based employee

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Embracing the anywhere-based employee

By Sumir Karayi, founder and CEO of 1E

To put it simply, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the world we live in and transformed the workplace. While not all of these changes have been positive, I would argue that the way we work has changed for the better based on personal experience, feedback from colleagues and friends, and survey insights.

With more than 46 million Americans suddenly moving to full-time remote work earlier this year, companies were forced to massively accelerate their digital transformation. Those that have invested in a digital ecosystem that empowers employees to work in whatever way best suits them have benefited greatly. In other words, companies working hard to put the right tools, processes and technology in place to support remote employees are rising to the top.

Whatever businesses think about long-term remote work, they will need to adapt. The sooner that CEOs make flexible remote work a strategic initiative, the better. Let's take a closer look at what this means for 2021 and beyond:

Work from Anywhere (WFA) is here to stay: Over the last year, remote employees have grown accustomed to the increased flexibility and choice of anywhere-based work. Without being tethered to a physical office space or geography, employees have the opportunity to move away from costly cities and can opt for a different lifestyle. In fact, San Francisco is one major city that's seeing an exodus of people and companies. The stories and anecdotal evidence of these moves is in line with recent data that shows the majority of employees do not wish to return to the office in the way as before. According to a study by IBM, 54% of workers say they would prefer to continue working remotely full time. Knowing this, organizations must embrace WFA as a permanent fixture, rather than a fleeting trend, and prepare to invest in and support digital workplace for the long-term.

Investing in a first-class digital experience: In this new WFA era, the responsibility is on organizations to provide anywhere-based employees with a first-class digital experience, comparable to that of an in-office experience. Because the laptop is the one thing that connects remote employees back to the organization, devices are more personal and critical than ever before. Everything hinges on the laptop -- its functionality and performance are now paramount. According to one of our recent studies, 98% of remote employees say that endpoint performance is important, so providing them with a reliable device is crucial for promoting productivity, collaboration and engagement.

Beyond subsidizing hardware and supplementing an employee's internet connection, expect organizations to also fund chairs, desks, monitors and other accessories in the long-term to further enhance the anywhere employee experience.

Management by outcomes: While delivering a first-class experience is a necessity for supporting anywhere-based work, I believe it's only the first step. It's no longer enough to ensure employees can be productive -- now, organizations must find a way to determine if employees actually are being productive without the typical in-person indicators. Organizations will look for alternative tools and processes to measure productivity and evaluate if work is getting done. Rather than focusing on the number of hours worked, outcome-based work will become the new standard at both small businesses and large organizations alike. Additionally, organizations will start setting limitations around time spent in meetings to further encourage productivity during core hours and cut back on the need for overtime.

The rise of real-time IT and self-service: Though employees generally enjoy the remote lifestyle, over a third of remote workers (37%) have indicated they are experiencing more IT issues than ever since working from home, waiting hours, days and sometimes weeks for IT to fix their issues. Disruption stemming from service desk delays and archaic remote desktop technology is detrimental to productivity and can culminate in frustration and anger. Real-time remediation and self-service capabilities will become prerequisites for any successful WFA enterprise, reducing friction and encouraging seamlessness across all employee journeys.

Once organizations genuinely support working from anywhere, the possibilities are endless. I fully expect companies that embrace and welcome this change to thrive and pull ahead of the pack.

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About the Author

Sumir Karayi 

Sumir Karayi founded 1E in 1997 with the goal to automate endpoint management. Sumir pioneered PC power management along with 40 other patented inventions and now leads 1E’s focus on “real-time digital experience management”  

Under Sumir’s leadership, 1E has achieved $2.5bn in IT cost savings for customers through automation. 1E has been recognized as one of the top 20 companies to watch by CIO magazine.

1E remains privately held and is headquartered in London with offices in New York, Ireland, Australia, and Delhi with 26 million licenses deployed across more than 1,700 organizations in 42 countries worldwide.

Sumir is a passionate believer in philanthropy and charitable giving. He sponsors research to improve gender based inequality with Warwick and Delhi universities. He has also supported the Manav Mandir Ashram Orphanage and other charities in India over the last 20 years.

Sumir gained a BEng in Electronic Engineering and MSc in IT from Warwick University.

Published Monday, January 11, 2021 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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