Organisations struggle to support IT in a hybrid work model

Study from digital employee experience tech firm finds 95% of professionals face disruptive IT issues that hinder productivity, with particular problems regarding remote workers

Research from digital employee experience (DEX) provider 1E is said to have discovered a “pivotal” shift in the way organisations approach IT strategies, warning that IT workflows must evolve to better support a dispersed workforce that is more reliant on digital technology than ever before.

The Digital employee experience in the enterprise report measured the roles IT teams and DEX play in today’s hybrid working environment. It surveyed 300 enterprise IT decision-makers and knowledge workers in the US and UK from organisations with more than 5,000 employees to understand their experiences, perceptions and the state of DEX.

A fundamental finding was that 81% of respondents agreed organisations that don’t make DEX a board-level priority would soon fall behind their competitors. DEX adoption was found to be growing, but not fast enough. Four in five respondents agreed that DEX was now a key consideration in their enterprise’s digital transformation strategy.

However, IT teams faced challenges in making DEX truly effective, with 98% reporting that highly burdened IT resources, changing working models and limitations of current technologies all hindered widespread adoption in their organisation. Additionally, 85% of IT decision-makers said that less than half of IT issues, requests and incidents were currently resolved with automation. However, when automation was used, 41% of all respondents reported higher employee productivity, and an improved relationship between IT and non-IT employees.

Moreover, three-quarters (75%) of knowledge workers surveyed said fast resolution of IT problems was no longer good enough. Instead, they demanded issues must be fixed before employees were aware of them – and two-thirds of IT decision-makers said there needs to be a complete overhaul or significant improvement to current DEX arrangements (66%).

Digital friction was seen as widespread. Respondents reported a wide range of digital friction, with application and/or software-based challenges being the most common. Over half (59%) indicated they deal with application or software-related IT disruption either daily or multiple times per week. The study noted that to eliminate digital friction and improve employee retention, corporate leadership needed to bring digital empathy and DEX into high-level strategic discussions to create a fluid, frustration-free digital working environment, regardless of physical location and working hours.

DEX was also found to have a potential impact on the Great Resignation. Just over three-quarters of respondents expected long-term working plans to be hybrid, meaning demands for speed and convenience will intensify. This is especially true with younger, digital-native employees now joining the workforce. And, with 78% of respondents reporting that their organisations still struggle with supporting IT in a hybrid work environment, 1E warned they could be inclined to leave to find opportunities that will provide them with an optimal remote or hybrid work experience.

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The report also advised enterprises that they must embrace digital empathy. Currently, only a third of knowledge workers believe IT teams have a high level of empathy when it comes to their digital experiences in the workplace.

The survey stressed that addressing issues with a purely technical mindset no longer cuts it in the new hybrid workforce – especially as expectations for IT continue to grow. Two-thirds of knowledge workers stated that digital experiences in their personal life surpass those of the workplace.

“Workplace norms continue to rapidly evolve, so IT priorities and expectations must evolve in tandem,” said 1E CEO Mark Banfield.

“Our findings show that DEX adoption rates are rising, however, corporate leadership must change their IT mindset and invest in the necessary solutions to support DEX initiatives. This increased focus will provide a better hybrid working environment, retain more talented employees and eliminate productivity-draining digital friction.”

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