Hybrid work requires a balance between people and technology

The permanent workplace in a permanent office on fixed working days. This traditional way of working leaves room for a little more flexibility in your work. Sometimes in the office with colleagues, but often also at home, where employees feel comfortable with a new balance between work and private life. This transition brings with it the necessary challenges, especially at the interface between people and technology. When you as an organization recognize these challenges and address them in the right way, you will work more efficiently and more safely, and you will be more attractive to new people.

Working from home for one or a few days to avoid traffic jams and to achieve a better work-life balance has become more and more common in recent years. Of course, this development has accelerated due to COVID-19, where organizations had to facilitate working from home. The workplace in particular was at the center then. For what or where is that workplace actually? Is it still a desk, with a PC next to all your colleagues’ or is it a virtual environment where you can do your work? It is clear that the concept of workplace needs a new definition.

Always online and digitally savvy

As far back as 2019, research firm Gartner predicted that by 2023, less than a third of employees would identify the office as their preferred workplace. But recent research supports this estimate: 48 percent of employees surveyed say they work all or part of the time at home or elsewhere. A little further into the future, we see that in 2030 the entire generation Z will have entered the labor market. This crop of employees know nothing but that they are always online and their digital skills seem limitless. As a result, demand for a flexible work environment that allows remote work from home or anywhere will increase by 30 percent, Gartner said in another contribution. You see a shift from managing by presence to managing by goals and results, where employee well-being goes hand in hand with the organisation’s objectives. It almost goes without saying that as an organization you do everything you can to facilitate employees in such a way that they can work and collaborate excellently online and have secure access to their work and information. At the same time, it is necessary that you continue to spread your organization’s culture, values ​​and standards. After all, a note on the notice board with coffee is not picked up nearly as well as it was a few years ago. You will need to secure this in another way.

Adaptation of technological infrastructure to the new reality

Today we can therefore outline the first outlines of the new office life. Of course, the offices will be smaller. What we need is a cozy meeting place, where there is especially room for consultation and where everyone feels comfortable. There are also options for setting up smaller meeting places in different geographically dispersed locations. If you as an employee need concentration to carry out important tasks, you work from home, for example. And you come to the office hub for project-based work, team meetings and creative sessions. It is important that you involve your employees in this new development.

This can be done by providing them with a technological infrastructure that optimally facilitates hybrid work. However, practice shows that this leads to the necessary headache for many organizations. We see them struggling to adapt the technology infrastructure to this new reality of hybrid work. They come across questions like:

  • Is the migration of business applications to the cloud careful and are they taking advantage of the right opportunities? Cloud offers a solution precisely because employees work in so many different places. This also provides the flexibility to quickly scale up in capacity.

  • Are network connections still working so employees can do their work from anywhere and with any device? It primarily concerns speed, bandwidth and stability.

  • And have organizations taken adequate and proper cyber security measures when setting up hybrid works? Has cybersecurity grown with the organization’s hybrid ambitions, or are there infrastructure vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber attackers?

Create a cloud strategy

To ensure business continuity, especially when everyone was forced to work from home, the pressure on the IT department has become very great. Parts of the infrastructure and countless business applications have been migrated to the cloud at a rapid pace. Think, for example, of the tools for collaboration, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. This pressure makes it difficult to work with a well-thought-out cloud strategy and results in many ad-hoc solutions. This may be understandable in light of COVID-19, but many organizations now lack a clear cloud strategy. This is a missed opportunity, because with a structured approach, cloud functionalities allow the IT department to increase speed (step by step), reduce management burden and free up more time for innovation. An important element of this strategy is, for example, multicloud: deploying and managing cloud solutions from different providers so that AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google can be used side by side.

Build a flexible network environment

The digital transformation has ensured that applications, devices and technologies have access to business data. As a result, the company’s network with many external connections is becoming increasingly important. At the same time, it becomes more challenging to connect everything in a secure way. Especially now that the cloud is starting to play a bigger role. Work towards a network environment that grows with your organization’s ambitions. A network environment that makes your organization agile and flexible.

Security

The above shows that the IT infrastructure has only become more complex. The infrastructure is increasingly cloud-based, as are many business applications. Employees often work from home, away from the supposedly safe office environment. This demands a lot from the network environment and requires a re-evaluation of the security measures you take. Remember that almost every object in the organization is connected to the Internet, even the coffee machine. This makes the IT environment very vulnerable, and you have to protect yourself against it. It is impossible to map and monitor this complex infrastructure manually. Automate these types of tasks and integrate security into business processes. Security becomes more self-evident this way, without getting in the way of the end user. Security awareness among employees is growing and people are more likely to ring the bell when suspicious emails are sent. In this way, you automatically create a balance between technology and the employee. You give a boost to your digital resilience and you stand stronger against cybercriminals.

Whether it’s cloud, network or security, it’s all about providing the best user experience. When employees are able to do their work efficiently, safely and comfortably, you lay the foundation for a future-proof organization that is attractive to new employees and that remains relevant in the market. Seize this moment before a competitor does.

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