First the Pandemic then Train Strikes, WFH is here to stay.
IT is renowned – especially by those outside the industry – for being fast-moving and ever-changing.
In some ways this is true – product and service updates occur daily, in some cases several times a day. And from time to time the world of IT really does make an exponential leap forward, often due to component costs falling dramatically – just think in terms of storage capacity and memory, for example. But IT is equally cyclical in nature; almost like fashion at times, features and functionality that are seen as “essential” at some point in time are then cast aside for years before taking pride of place in the next era of IT.
Often there is a trigger point that sparks new, or re-invention. In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, forcing the hand of companies to become totally flexible in the way they provide services to their staff and business partners, not least in terms of where those individuals actually work. In turn, that means supporting homeworking (WFH) more than ever before. In some ways, the reluctance to move to increased homeworking over the decades has been both surprising and frustrating, given the huge number of benefits WFH delivers – less traffic and travelling, more productive daytimes, flexibility in combining work and family life, reduced office costs – the list goes on and on… Against that list is primarily the one barrier – the human resistance to such a fundamental change ; lack of trust from the bosses in their staff when not directly under their noses and lack of faith in the individuals themselves to buckle down and work in an environment seen to have many distractions.
But from a technology perspective, there are no issues and no requirement to reinvent IT in order to support a new, and potentially massive wave of home/remote working. A recently published article in Digitalisation World “Predicting Life After The Virus” substantiated the belief that WFH is the future, stating that “home is where the work will be” and where IT sees “remote work as the norm, not the exception for most businesses”. Meantime, Aritari has been perfecting technologies designed to both simplify and optimise working from home/remotely, optimising Internet performance and cloud-based deployment, reducing costly support and management requirements, all elements that allow IT to be a completely distributed model and fully support remote/homeworkers.
The question is, from an IT management perspective, what do you really need now in order to establish a raft of homeworkers, whether they number dozens or thousands? Moreover, since the changeover is a rapid requirement for many, how do you also keep it simple and easily deployable? However simple and fool-proof your homeworking solution, the reality is that humans tend to panic, so their dependency on technical support and help via remote access will increase, initially at least. And while ever there are some form of centralised offices with workplaces, outgoing access to office-based devices, storage and services is equally important – it is a bidirectional process. Combining reliable and secure remote connectivity with little or no support requirement goes a long way towards easing the WFH move for companies and allowing instant benefits from that move, regardless of whether it was enforced or a chosen path. And, for anyone who still thinks this is “something that will occur in the future” then they had better think again – and quickly! The working world isn’t changing – it has already changed – and companies need to change with it if they haven’t already done so…