Hybrid Work Environments to Become the Norm After Pandemic Recedes
April 06, 2021
Share this

A hybrid work environment will persist after the pandemic recedes, with over 80% stating that they expect over a quarter of workers to remain remote, and over two-thirds desiring flexibility between on-premises and remote deployments according to the 2021 State of the WAN report released by Aryaka.

When the pandemic hit, workers around the world migrated from their offices to their homes, a shift that will also impact future planning and investment throughout 2021. More than half (59%) of the respondents stated they expect 25-50% of their workers to remain remote, while 21% say they are planning for more than 50% of their workforce to continue working from home.


Businesses are also prioritizing flexibility, with 63% stating that they consider the ability to quickly move resources between on-premises and remote to be very important.


Other key trends identified in this year's report include:

■ Continued WAN and application growth, resulting in increased network complexity. The number of enterprises reporting they're deploying over 500 distinct applications has grown to 46%. 37% of enterprises identify complexity as their number one network concern

■ 43% of enterprises identify application performance as an underlying driver for WAN transformation. However, WAN transformations have slowed this year due to the pandemic

■ Over 70% of enterprises intend to move to managed services versus just 18% who prefer the autonomy of a do-it-yourself WAN solution

■ Accelerating fusion of networking and security planning, with almost a third of enterprises stating that they are already deploying what they consider to be a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture


The WAN continues to extend its reach, with the number of enterprises connecting to over 100 inter-regional sites growing by 50%, from 19% in 2020 to 28% in 2021. This is coupled with continued application growth, with the number of enterprises stating that they've deployed over 500 distinct applications growing to 46%, compared to 32% in 2021. As evidence of collaboration traction, Zoom was identified as critical by 36% in 2021, up from 25% in 2020.

One finding that did not noticeably change year-on-year is complexity, which was identified by 36% of enterprises as their number one network issue.

Interestingly, those who identified cost as a major issue grew to 20% in 2021 from 16% in 2020, a 25% increase. This may be attributed to cloud or MPLS cost concerns.

Overall, investment priorities did see recede in some areas, due to tactical pandemic concerns driving near-term planning. For example, only 17% of respondents plan to conduct an SD-WAN/SASE-driven network refresh this year versus 29% in 2020. However, combining this with remote access upgrades, a new entry at 22%, and security, at 21%, results in strong momentum going into 2021. In contrast, LTE/5G experienced growth from 24% in 2020 to 31% in 2021. Finally, VPN investment is at 31% this year versus 27% in 2020. Aryaka believes the new remote workforce, due to the pandemic, led to this VPN increase.

For actual deployment, managed services still reign supreme at 71%, versus 18% who are looking for a do-it-yourself (DIY) solution.

Many enterprises are also further along the deployment lifecycle, with 26% evaluating SD-WAN this year, up from 22% in 2020. This increasing market maturity is reflected in a drop in identified barriers to SD-WAN adoption.

Enterprises are less concerned that the WAN service won't address application performance, coming in at 36% this year, versus 43% in 2020, with corresponding drops in SLA concerns, technology maturity, and lack of skills.


Methodology: The 2021 State of the WAN study surveyed over 1350 global IT and network practitioners at enterprises spanning all verticals, headquartered in NA, APAC and EMEA.

Share this

The Latest

September 16, 2021

Achieve more with less. How many of you feel that pressure — or, even worse, hear those words — trickle down from leadership? The reality is that overworked and under-resourced IT departments will only lead to chronic errors, missed deadlines and service assurance failures. After all, we're only human. So what are overburdened IT departments to do? Reduce the human factor. In a word: automate ...

September 15, 2021

On average, data innovators release twice as many products and increase employee productivity at double the rate of organizations with less mature data strategies, according to the State of Data Innovation report from Splunk ...

September 14, 2021

While 90% of respondents believe observability is important and strategic to their business — and 94% believe it to be strategic to their role — just 26% noted mature observability practices within their business, according to the 2021 Observability Forecast ...

September 13, 2021

Let's explore a few of the most prominent app success indicators and how app engineers can shift their development strategy to better meet the needs of today's app users ...

September 09, 2021

Business enterprises aiming at digital transformation or IT companies developing new software applications face challenges in developing eye-catching, robust, fast-loading, mobile-friendly, content-rich, and user-friendly software. However, with increased pressure to reduce costs and save time, business enterprises often give a short shrift to performance testing services ...

September 08, 2021

DevOps, SRE and other operations teams use observability solutions with AIOps to ingest and normalize data to get visibility into tech stacks from a centralized system, reduce noise and understand the data's context for quicker mean time to recovery (MTTR). With AI using these processes to produce actionable insights, teams are free to spend more time innovating and providing superior service assurance. Let's explore AI's role in ingestion and normalization, and then dive into correlation and deduplication too ...

September 07, 2021

As we look into the future direction of observability, we are paying attention to the rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning, security, and more. I asked top industry experts — DevOps Institute Ambassadors — to offer their predictions for the future of observability. The following are 10 predictions ...

September 01, 2021

One thing is certain: The hybrid workplace, a term we helped define in early 2020, with its human-centric work design, is the future. However, this new hybrid work flexibility does not come without its costs. According to Microsoft ... weekly meeting times for MS Teams users increased 148%, between February 2020 and February 2021 they saw a 40 billion increase in the number of emails, weekly per person team chats is up 45% (and climbing), and people working on Office Docs increased by 66%. This speaks to the need to further optimize remote interactions to avoid burnout ...

August 31, 2021

Here's how it happens: You're deploying a new technology, thinking everything's going smoothly, when the alerts start coming in. Your rollout has hit a snag. Whole groups of users are complaining about poor performance on their devices. Some can't access applications at all. You've now blown your service-level agreement (SLA). You might have just introduced a new security vulnerability. In the worst case, your big expensive product launch has missed the mark altogether. "How did this happen?" you're asking yourself. "Didn't we test everything before we deployed?" ...

August 30, 2021

The Fastly outage in June 2021 showed how one inconspicuous coding error can cause worldwide chaos. A single Fastly customer making a legitimate configuration change, triggered a hidden bug that sent half of the internet offline, including web giants like Amazon and Reddit. Ultimately, this incident illustrates why organizations must test their software in production ...