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How Home Office Tech Has Changed Due to the Pandemic

Although the pandemic is far from over, working from home is going to retain its appeal for some workers. That means home office tech is changing to support this new remote work infrastructure.

There was a time when home office tech did not get much attention in enterprise companies.

That time ended about 18 months ago when lockdowns occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now enterprise IT departments need to make sure those devices and the products and services they connected to are secure and properly provide protection to company data.

Omdia, the research branch of Informa Tech, has produced three reports over the last year taking a closer look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how changes in the products and services used by enterprise companies – and the approach to remote work – is impacting home office tech.

Flexible Working Is the New Normal

Adam Holtby, who covers the mobile workspace market for Omdia, writes that a more remote and mobile workforce is here to stay.

In a recent Omdia survey, enterprise respondents reported that more than half of their total workforce (54%) worked from home during the pandemic. Those same organizations responded that 34% of their work force will continue to be home-based after the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly double the 18% of the workforce that worked remotely before the 2020 onset of the pandemic.

 “The world of work has changed forever, and mobility is central to this change,” Holtby said of home office tech.

He added that the key factors enterprise companies must prioritize for this new way of work are:

  • Strengthening enterprise security
  • Improving employee productivity
  • Providing IT administrators with a unified view of endpoint hardware and applications
  • Managing cost related to mobile workers

Holtby emphasized that the enterprise must take critical steps to protect company data and support their customers no matter where the customer (or the employee doing support) is located.

In a second Omdia report, Holtby pointed out that there’s a difference between an organization that abruptly pivoted to remote work during a pandemic and one that’s crafted a long-term perspective and strategic approach to a remote workforce. He identifies five threats that a remote workforce presents to an organization:

  • Devices – Enterprises must figure out a way to secure and manage the technologies via a combination of a unified console and user policies
  • Applications – IT must figure out how to handle central provisioning, management, and security
  • Network – IT has to figure out how to fend off or react to man-in-the-middle attacks and unsecured networks
  • Web – A remote workforce can still be protected against malicious content such as phishing, spyware, mobile adware, trojans and browser exploits

Holtby says these areas can be addressed through education, communication, and well-defined processes for supporting these technologies.

He also recommends the re-prioritization of digital transformation plans within a company to help with this including working with experienced service and technology providers/partners to help transform these critical workflows. He writes that long-term organizational changes need to be implemented so they do not negatively impact employee productivity and security.

The Impact of Home Office Tech and Working From Home During COVID-19

In a third report, this one written by Omdia enterprise IT analyst Terry White, the focus shifts to the human impact of remote work.

“Serendipity is the first casualty,” White said. “Those happy accidents that result in ground-breaking innovations and new products. PayPal, Facebook, Apple, and other Silicon Valley ventures can all be traced back to serendipity—chance meetings between the key players.”

White goes on to add that the long-term impact on this potential loss remains to be seen, there are other negative impacts due to the shift to work from home that are having an impact on employees now.

He compares this shift in as more of a lifestyle change compared to a workstyle change, but it will still require changes for both the individual employees and the company. Another significant area that requires focus in this shift to and focus on home tech and processes is employee mental health and wellbeing.

White says that social needs are not being met remotely like they do when everyone is the office. For example, the loss of in-person hallway and inter-office social interactions, laughter, casual meetings, office politics and gossip, plus impromptu coffee-breaks all impact the disconnected way employees can feel when fully working remotely from home.

“There is much to be done if WFH becomes the major trend that many commentators are predicting,” White said.

Links to Full Omdia Reports Mentioned in this Article

Close encounters of the remote kind

Published: August 11, 2020

Author: Terry White, Associate Chief Analyst, Enterprise IT

How COVID-19 Has Forever Changed the Way People Work

Published: October 11, 2020

Author: Adam Holtby, Principal Analyst, Mobile Workspace

2021 Trends to Watch Enterprise Mobility and Remote Working

Published: December 10, 2020

Author: Adam Holtby, Principal Analyst, Mobile Workspace

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