HYBRID WORK – OUR NEW WAY OF WORKING
In The Way We Worked you saw how the technology that we use for work has transformed in the last four decades. The Baby Boomer’s years of the 80s were devoid of the internet or email, an era when the fax machine was the next best thing. The 90s witnessed the advent of laptops and commercial use of the Web. By the 2010s, things were really humming along, fast-approaching the ‘work anywhere and anytime’ ethos that has become par for the course today. Spearheaded by the millennials, online collaboration tools gave birth to ‘always-on’ work culture and the practicality of hybrid work.
SHAPED BY COVID-19
Out of desperation to remain operational, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 forced businesses to onboard a remote-by-necessity work model. Technologies from the 2010s, such as apps, cloud computing, video conferencing and file sharing paved the way for an almost seamless transition from the office to working from home. By September 2021, 79% of employees claimed that their companies planned to adopt a hybrid work strategy. Now, with the pandemic hopefully becoming a distant memory, hybrid work has become a norm and not a luxury.
THE TECH YOU NEED
In 2021, the world spent $4.23 trillion on its IT. Gartner predicts that this spend will increase by 5% annually for the foreseeable future. One reason for this increase in IT expenditure is a necessary investment in technologies that facilitate successful onsite and remote collaboration. Gartner also believes that as businesses are determined to migrate to a hybrid work model, enterprise software budgets will grow by 8.8%. Examples of technologies that enable effective and efficient hybrid work include
- the installation of high-quality audio and video in meeting rooms
- laptops with built-in cameras and noise-cancelling headsets
- virtual whiteboards like Miro
- information-sharing platforms such as Google Workspace
- a high-speed and stable internet connection
Hybrid work is underpinned by the notion of a flexible and harmonious working environment. Employees expect a streamlined experience, regardless of where they work or when they work. As such, IT leaders, CIOs and CISOs need to consider their IT holistically and adopt an omnichannel approach using integrated technologies. In this way, ‘always-on’ technology will become less important. Technology should be ‘on’ when and where you need it. Always. The idea of integrating technologies is expressed well in the words of Carol Stubbings, a tax and legal executive at PWC:
“If I were sitting here with you 11 years ago and said ‘this morning I was in my Uber, on my iPhone, booking an Airbnb in Madrid, the only thing you would know about is Madrid. None of those things existed. And that’s just an example of how fast things are changing and how we integrate all of these new technologies into our everyday lives.”
HYBRID WORK AND THE CLOUD
The cloud, a fancy word for the internet, has been around for a while but it is vital for the functioning of hybrid work. That said, the remote working patterns resulting from the pandemic meant that employees were accessing critical business data from multiple endpoints, many of which were unsecured. Jim Bowers, Security Architect for TBI, said:
“Employees are now accessing business data and cloud services from multiple endpoints, across multiple devices and from multiple locations. Protecting the network amid such dispersed activity is a high priority.”
The UK saw a 31% rise in cybercrime during the pandemic, much of which can be attributed to businesses being unprepared to adopt the hybrid work model. Moving forward, IT leaders now need to urgently rethink their cybersecurity strategies. This goes beyond ensuring that the company network is secure but also that every device, from a smartphone to a laptop, has excellent cyber hygiene. Small businesses usually lack the financial and human resources to guarantee this level of security. For large enterprise, the challenge is the scale of operation.
TAKE THE WORRY OUT OF HYBRID WORK
You needed have any sleepless nights worrying about your employees adopting a hybrid work model. I have over 20 years of experience in professional business IT management, specialising in cybersecurity and IT risk mitigation. I will ensure that every one of your onsite and remote endpoints and secure and always on by applying Zero Trust strategies. Working remotely never gives me any headaches – you shouldn’t have any either. Contact me today and lets make your transition to hybrid work a walk in the park.