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For knowledge workers at companies of all sizes, hybrid working has for the past two years become a fundamental part of everyday life to get to grips with, but a study from Canon Europe has revealed a disconnect between IT managers’ and end users’ technology experiences when it comes to hybrid working.
The Hybrid snapshot: The impact on employee and IT experience study, commissioned by Canon in partnership with Walnut Unlimited, surveyed 3,008 IT decision-makers and end users across seven EU markets: Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the UK, Netherlands and Sweden. A total of 1,791 employees took part in the research, all of which were at least partly desk-based and employed by organisations with a headcount of 50 or more. Some 1,217 IT decision-makers also took part, all of which were mid-level management or above and had ultimate authority or a lot of influence over IT infrastructure, offerings, and/or printers and related devices.
Among the top-line findings was that while 78% of IT decision-makers (ITDMs) believe their company provides the right technology to enable people to work from home, as many as one in five end users were still having to provide their own equipment (21%) and are struggling to get remote IT support (19%). The research also highlighted that this shift has not been easy for the IT department either, with over half of ITDMs stating that they are being asked to give remote support for devices (56%).
Yet by contrast, for employees, the top issues with hybrid working concerned business processes. Just over two in five were facing difficulties with approval processes, signing documents digitally and escalating admin, while 41% were found to be struggling to access physical or digital documents when working out of the office. As a result, 37% of respondents reported having to visit the office to print, pick up or sign documents in person.
Canon also found that equipping new workspaces has been a major challenge for IT teams. Accessibility, collaboration and integration are among the biggest pain points when transitioning to a hybrid model, with 71% of ITDMs claiming that services supporting hybrid practices are incompatible with their legacy infrastructure.
The research revealed that most regular help desk calls from remote workers were centred on issues accessing files remotely (43%), and having trouble sharing and collaborating with others (36%). On top of these software demands, IT teams were also experiencing high demand for remote hardware assistance, with over half (56%) receiving requests for printer/scanner support in the home and 33% for personal devices.
Somewhat worryingly, the research suggested that responding to these issues, sourcing and implementing the right technology for this new environment is proving to be difficult for IT teams. Just over three quarters (76%) of IT teams say they have found sourcing technologies from multiple suppliers challenging. In the event of an issue, 71% must contact multiple suppliers for a service, which means problems can take significantly longer to resolve in a hybrid setting.
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With this in mind, the study revealed that the appeal of a single supplier offering for print and document management is significant for companies embracing hybrid working. The majority of ITDMs (81%) agreed that their organisation would benefit from technologies provided by a single supplier that is compatible and open to integration.
“Employees continue to face challenges with everyday document-based workflows when outside of the office,” said Marc Bory, workspace planning, marketing and innovation senior director at Canon Europe.
“Our research suggests that while companies may have the basics in place, they are some way from having a technological infrastructure that’s able to function seamlessly across hybrid working environments,” he said.
“As a result, there is a renewed interest in technologies that work seamlessly together and that can support an end user’s document management challenges, irrespective of their work location. That’s why we offer a complete technology ecosystem that aims to integrate hybrid workspaces and optimise document workflows, ensuring our portfolio and related services are ready to meet the evolving demands of a hybrid environment.”