5 Important Reasons Why IT Must Upgrade Remote Work Solutions

Sponsored by Verizon

Recent reports show that companies continue to embrace hybrid working and fully remote employees to drive productivity and improve work-life balance. Gartner forecasts that 51% of U.S. knowledge workers (39% globally) will work in hybrid mode by the end of 2023, and 20% will be fully remote. In another study, 65% of managers believe their employees are very productive in a hybrid work arrangement, and 67% of survey respondents would be willing to take a pay cut to continue hybrid working.

CIOs partnering with CHROs can enable remote and hybrid working options as a strategic differentiator for their businesses and a benefit that helps hire and retain talent.

IT must upgrade remote work solutions

We can review last decade’s shift from web to mobile to mobile devices and application user interfaces for key lessons on the intersection between what people experience outside of the office and their expectations as employees. As people used mobile phones and more apps in their daily lives, employees demanded the consumerization of IT. CIOs responded with wireless and mobile technology capabilities, and HR sponsored the transformation to an empowered mobile workforce. Businesses that provided flexible policies and adaptable wireless and mobile technologies were able to deliver new business capabilities, improve customer support, and improve life for field-working employees.

But there’s one major difference with the shift to hybrid working over the last couple of years. CIOs and IT deployed remote work solutions in their pandemic response and were forced to cobble together technologies, policies, IT support models, and security configurations. The heroics enabled IT to drive a dramatic shift to remote working, but the solutions left in place may not be adequate for organizations that seek hybrid working options as business, productivity, and culture enablers.

The benefits of 5G and business-sponsored remote work technology

Here’s my key question for CIOs and CHROs: Are you offering employees a company-provided, business-grade wireless internet connection, or are you leaving it to the employees to continue using their home networks and router configurations? Many organizations opted for the latter during the pandemic but switching to business-sponsored offers several benefits to organizations looking to improve hybrid work experiences, collaboration, and productivity.

Through this lens, here are five reasons to prioritize upgrades to remote work solutions.

1. Address poor employee experiences, especially for employees living in remote areas

Two questions illustrate how upgrades can improve employee experiences. First, How many times is a virtual meeting interrupted because participants experience network latencies? When meetings have frequent interruptions because of latency issues, it’s hard to get employees to embrace remote collaboration as a fundamental way of working.

Second, what percent of the workforce lives in remote areas or pays for low-bandwidth and unreliable connections? Organizations that want to offer remote access to replace call centers, extend inside sales teams, or provide equitable employee benefits should consider these factors that a business-sponsored connection can address.

2. Reduce the long IT resolution times when resolving home networking issues

How many IT service tickets are tied to remote access networking issues, and what are their resolution times?

These tickets aren’t easy to resolve when employees use different network providers, routers, and configurations, as it takes time for the IT service desk employee to gather these technical details on issues they have little visibility or control over. Streamlining to a standard configuration from one provider should reduce the number of these tickets, their complexities, and the time to resolve remote access network issues. Furthermore, the remote access provider can take on this first level of support, leaving the internal IT service management team to focus on more business-critical tickets.

3. Standardize security controls and lower risks 

Infosec probably sent instructions to employees on securing their routers, but they have little time and limited tools to ensure compliance. Security threats and vulnerabilities emerge continuously, and enabling employees to connect to corporate networks through personally-owned devices on a shared home network is risky.

CIOs offering a remotely managed router with a standardized security configuration reduce these risks and simplify security incident management.  

4. Simplify reimbursing employees, especially in areas where required

Many U.S. states, including California, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, have laws covering what expenses employers must reimburse, including costs for remote access. When employees have different network providers and service plans, managing expense reporting and payment is an administrative headache.

The legal exposure and productivity loss in reimbursing employees can help offset some of the costs to companies that provide business-sponsored remote access.

5. Create an employee benefit that IT and HR can promote

This last reason may be the most important to update remote access.

At a time when it’s hard to hire and retain employees, offering dedicated high-speed and reliable internet for remote access that’s used for work and hybrid working opportunities is seen as a significant employee benefit. It tells employees that the company values work-life balance and is forward-thinking in providing advanced and reliable technology.

For enterprises and businesses that want remote and hybrid working options for the long term, standardizing remote internet access offers many employee and business benefits.

This post is brought to you by Verizon.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Verizon.

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld, CIO.com, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.