Since Covid saw lockdown orders applied in March 2020, organisations in major economies around the globe have been deploying various technologies to support flexible working practices, yet nearly three years on many of those practices are still not hitting the mark.
According to research from managed workplace services provider Apogee Corporation, 63% of IT directors are not very confident in their IT estate’s ability to fully support the hybrid workforce and 71% of organisations are not placing IT investment at the top of the priority list.
The study, Defining the future of the workplace, polled 100 IT leaders in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 100 IT leaders in the public sector to gather their thoughts on what the future of the workplace will look like and identify their current readiness to support the future workforce.
The questions fell under the umbrella of three key areas: technology, cyber security and sustainability. Specific areas covered included future plans regarding technology integration, how organisations are meeting evolving expectations and the state of sustainability in their operations.
Fundamentally, the study revealed that limitations with the current IT setup were preventing effective collaboration for 89% of respondents, with 48% admitting that remote staff don’t have access to the same solutions as office workers. This is despite the top expectation among the workforce being the ability to collaborate effectively with technology, as cited by 38% of respondents. The opportunity to work flexibly was the second highest expectation (31%).
With remote workers at a disadvantage, security is also creating further concerns for the modern workforce, as a quarter (25%) revealed that security challenges with remote and hybrid working were affecting IT transformation progress. Businesses are also neglecting to secure the hybrid and remote workforce, with just 14% citing it as a top priority.
Aurelio Maruggi, Apogee Corporation
To further add to security woes, almost one in three (28%) directors said they only audited their IT estate between once a month and once every four to six months. Additionally, only 34% had endpoint security and 26% had device encryption in place, while under one in five businesses (19%) had an end-of-life plan for their devices to improve security among the hybrid workforce. All of these solutions, said Apogee Corporation, were seen as a necessity for organisations to continually safeguard against cyber attacks.
The survey warned that such a lack of technology adoption was culminating in organisations being unable to attract new talent, with 45% saying that offering the latest technology was their top strategy to convince staff to join the business. Additionally, 26% said ensuring access to high-quality, reliable IT solutions was a top priority for attracting and retaining talent.
Moreover, the potential for staff departures was also seen as likely to place further pressure on organisations already struggling with skilled staff shortages. Over a quarter (29%) said their employees were stretched across too many monitoring responsibilities due to the shortages and a quarter (25%) recognised that slow resolution of IT issues was frustrating their staff.
“Businesses are ultimately failing to invest in the technologies that meet the needs of today’s workers. Hybrid strategies are now becoming the norm post-pandemic, while the digitally savvy generation is making up more of the modern talent pool,” said Apogee CEO Aurelio Maruggi.
“By not addressing these issues, including the improvement of device security, organisations run the risk of poor morale among staff. This will raise the likelihood of people departing the business and affect the ability to attract new talent.”