Imagine a highly connected world where information travels at the speed of light, where people can conduct business transactions and work wherever they want. This is the opportunity presented to business leaders post Covid-19.
Analyst Gartner has forecast that this year, almost half (48%) of knowledge workers will be hybrid and fully remote. Those who believe that things will return to “normal”, as in how we used to work pre-pandemic, are living in an alternative reality. The fact is this: those who can work from home will choose to do so over having to commute to an office.
Business leaders are worried that their plush city offices are being underutilised and there is a fear among policy makers that the local economy supporting office-based workers will collapse unless people return to the old way of work.
But the roads are congested, public transport is strained and people cannot afford to live within a reasonable commute of the office. Certainly, for those struggling to make ends meet, working mainly from home, has numerous benefits. On the other hand, given the imminent energy price hike, some may opt to travel in, just to stay warm and avoid eye-watering heating bills. On the flip side, business leaders may feel that with fewer people in the office, they can reduce their heating costs.
From an IT perspective, the CIO and IT department now face the challenge of how to enable secure and reliable access to corporate IT systems, wherever end users may be located.
According to Gartner’s forecast analysis on knowledge workers, hybrid, fully remote and on-site work, by the end of 2026, democratisation of technology combined with digitisation and automation of work, will mean that 64% of employees are in a position to work remotely or in a hybrid fashion.
Remote support is not the same as desk-side tech support in an office, where IT staff can easily fix and replace users’ laptops. It simply is not feasible to courier a fault device back to the office and send out a replacement.
Employees are also becoming more tech savvy. They are willing to trawl the internet to find out how to fix issues with their hardware. Clearly, if the device is totally locked down, their ability to be self-sufficient in terms of desktop IT support, is curbed and some people will feel that fixing their own PC goes beyond their job remit.
While the idea of IT systems that autonomously fix themselves remains intangible, there is a huge opportunity for the PC industry to help, blurring the divide between consumer support and corporate end user computing.