Most (83%) of nearly 1,500 business and IT decision makers believe that at least 25% of their workforce will remain hybrid post-pandemic, according to the Riverbed | Aternity Hybrid Work Global Survey 2021.
This number is up from just 30% from Riverbed's 2020 survey; and 42% say more than half their workforce will be hybrid.
Accelerated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid work environments provide numerous benefits with 94% agreeing hybrid work helps with recruiting talent and competitiveness, and 84% believing hybrid work will have a lasting and positive impact on society and the world.
While all indicators signal hybrid work environments are the future, most organizations are not fully prepared to deliver a seamless hybrid work experience. Only 32% believe they are completely prepared to support the shift to hybrid work; and 88% are concerned about digital disparity between in-office and remote employees. However, 89% plan to invest in technology in the next 12-18 months to support their hybrid workforce.
Human and Technology Barriers Must be Addressed
The survey reveals that in order to create a sustainable and high-performing hybrid workplace, organizations must address both human- and technology-related barriers. The top five barriers to adopting a hybrid work model are:
1. Employee motivation and well-being (35%)
2. Technology disruptions (32%)
3. Poor home/remote network performance (31%)
4. Collaboration and virtual relationship building (31%)
5. Expanded security risks (31%)
80% of business decision makers believe that technology disruptions negatively affect them, their teams, and employee job satisfaction. They blame lack of acceleration technologies (35%), legacy IT infrastructure (33%), and lack of end-to-end visibility (32%).
End-to-end Visibility and Cybersecurity Become Even More Critical
The need for end-to-end visibility and actionable insights intensifies in a hybrid workplace with 57% of respondents believing gaining this visibility will be even more challenging in a hybrid work environment. Security risks also increase, and 93% of business decision makers say it is critically important to have full end-to-end visibility to better identify, remediate and protect against cybersecurity threats. Of those surveyed, 64% cite that it would be seriously disruptive or business destroying if their organization suffered a cybersecurity breach due to underinvestment in visibility technology.
75% agree that their organization struggles to glean actionable insights from data that is generated from their technology infrastructure. The top five challenges with current visibility/monitoring solutions identified by IT decision makers are:
1. Multiple tools that give conflicting data, delaying root cause analysis and issue resolution (42%)
2. Lack of visibility into the availability, performance and usage of cloud resources (37%)
3. Too much data and not enough context or actionable insight (35%)
4. Lack of unified visibility across the entire technology infrastructure (34%)
5. Data is not accessible or usable by all who need it (33%)
Business decision makers reveal that their top areas of technology investments over the next 12-18 months are:
■ Better visibility of network and application performance (38%)
■ Investing in cybersecurity technology and software (37%)
■ Investing in application or network acceleration solutions (37%)
■ Updating company-wide hybrid workplace strategies and policies (36%)
■ Increasing the use of cloud services and software as a service apps (36%)
■ Investing in end-user experience and digital experience monitoring solutions (35%)
Network and Application Performance Impact Employees and Business Success
The survey findings underscore that when networks and applications operate at peak performance, so do employees and the business. Respondents believe performance contributes to saving time and money (38%); greater ability to deliver critical services to employees and customers (35%); enabling hybrid work models (32%); preventing and reducing downtime (31%); driving innovation (29%); and enhancing collaboration (28%).
In contrast, underinvesting in technologies that ensure IT services are high-performing and secure can have severe consequences. Business decision makers cite the following impacts on business when underinvesting in technology:
■ Increased difficulty in engaging customers or clients (40%)
■ Decreased revenue (39%)
■ Reduced quality of service to customers or clients (38%)
■ Decreased productivity (33%)
■ Decreased customer satisfaction (30%)
Both business and IT decision makers agree that underinvesting impacts employee experience citing increased stress or frustration (37%); lack of work motivation (33%); reduced employee productivity (33%); reduced collaboration among co-workers (32%); and reduced work-life balance (30%).
Methodology: The Riverbed | Aternity Hybrid Work Global Survey 2021was conducted by Sapio Research in September 2021. Nearly 1,500 business leaders responded comprising 750 business decision makers (BDMs) and 738 IT decision makers (ITDMs) from organizations with revenue above $500M USD annually in the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, UAE, and the Netherlands. Industry sectors included Finance/Insurance, Public Sector/Government, Healthcare/Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Retail, and Professional Services.
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