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IT teams give remote tech the thumbs up, but worry about extra work

With people continuing to work from home, remote access technologies have become key tools in supporting a hybrid workforce

Research has found that remote access technologies have contributed to helping IT leaders feel less stressed at work.

However, the 3Gem study for Splashtop, based on a pole of 1,000 IT decision-makers at small, medium and large organisations, reported that one in four believe flexible working is only going to get more complex.

Two-fifths (42%) of those surveyed said their job had become more enjoyable as a result of the lack of stress they feel with flexible technologies in place, while 36% said they felt remote access tools gave their users and colleagues greater confidence in them as a decision-maker. Nearly half (47%) of the IT decision-makers surveyed agreed that remote access tools not only benefited users, but IT teams too.

The survey found that IT leaders believe flexible working is only likely to get more complex, with the uptake of varying working patterns and an expanding list of specific individual team member needs. This is expected to further increase the workload of the IT team. The majority of IT decision-makers (82%) said they now work longer hours as a result of flexible policies.  

When asked about the biggest challenges IT leaders face, a third (33%) anticipated some challenges with being able to support both remote workers and office workers, while 13% flagged budget concerns, specifically around remote working equipment such as updated laptops, headsets and printers, and running the office when it is not at full capacity.

Issues around employee well-being had also been considered. Almost a fifth (18%) of the IT decision-makers surveyed were concerned about the impacts of physical sickness and poor mental health and said it was a challenge they were anticipating.  

There is growing recognition that the nature of work, post-pandemic, is changing. Last year, management consultant McKinsey assessed how the pandemic was impacting the labour market in China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, the UK and the US. It found that the most obvious impact of Covid-19 on the labour force was the dramatic increase in employees working remotely.

By analysing 2,000 tasks used in 800 occupations, McKinsey found that about 20-25% of the workforces in advanced economies could work from home between three and five days a week.

“This represents four to five times more remote work than before the pandemic and could prompt a large change in the geography of work, as individuals and companies shift out of large cities into suburbs and small cities. We found that some work that technically can be done remotely is best done in person,” said the McKinsey report.

The need to support employees remotely shifts the emphasis away from providing IT systems and support for office-based staff, to supporting a largely hybrid workforce.

“It is encouraging to find that decision-makers are already considering the future complexity of accommodating flexible working arrangements,” said Alexander Draaijer, general manager at Splashtop. “Managing more devices, shadow IT, the rise of ransomware and threats associated with VPNs and remote desktop protocols make adequate preparations more important than ever, as we move to a world that demands the ability to work anywhere and at any time.”

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