Had you asked a group of your colleagues a year ago whether they would prefer to work at home or in the office, what do you think the consensus would have been? And if you asked that same group today, would you get the same answer?
Working from home has historically had many perceived benefits. Elimination of your commute (meaning more time to sleep and less frustration sitting in traffic), your own kitchen ready and waiting for you to prep lunch, no nosy or loud co-workers disrupting your day, the list really does go on and on.
But does this rose-coloured perception match today’s reality? The answer appears to be a resounding no.
By the numbers…
NetMotion recently conducted a survey to gauge the current working experience for those who have moved from an office environment to a work-from-home environment over the last year. The answers were intriguing to say the least.
The first takeaway was that working from home is generally worse than the experience in the office. When asked, from an IT, tools and technology perspective, 47.8% of remote employees say the experience of working remotely is worse than at the office. 26.6% say it’s the same as the office, and 25.6% say WFH is better than at the office.
So despite all of its perceived perks, almost half of remote workers found remote work to be more challenging than when they were in an office environment. Now it’s important to note that this question specifically speaks to the tools and technology experience of working remotely. This question isn’t asking if the worker prefers to work next to their household pet, but if they are frustrated with their current technology setup outside of the office. They may not have access to large screen(s) or an ergonomic keyboard, or perhaps their network connection is slow or unreliable.
All of this is very interesting to note for IT teams, most of whom have gone above and beyond to provide the best support for their employees during these times to ensure the WFH experience is as productive as possible.
That being said, the other half of remote employees surveyed either didn’t note a difference in their experience or preferred working from home to being back in the office. One might think those 26% who prefer their home tools & technology are working with a pretty nice home office setup… and that might be thanks to some organizations allowing employees to invest in monitors, software and tools that make their day-to-day lives easier.
Interestingly enough, when this question was framed in the context of security tools, satisfaction scores dropped significantly.
When workers were asked about the experience of using traditional security products such as VPNs and authentication software, 57.9% said that these tools make working from home more difficult. This speaks not just to an inconvenience, but to a set of technology tools that are creating real obstacle for workers in getting their jobs done.
This situation should be a major red flag for every organization as, with so many working from home, the potential ‘attack surface’ has increased tremendously. The number of networks, apps and devices used daily by remote workers continues to rise. Therefore it’s never been more important for workers to use their VPN, authentication tools and other security software consistently and correctly. If workers see these tools as an impediment to their workday, they will find workarounds (as employees always do). This isn’t an acceptable outcome, given the tremendous risk to the company.
What can your organization do?
The insights presented in this article call attention to the importance of understanding the remote working experience.
Every organization is different and faces their own unique challenges, but without careful examination of the end user experience, there’s simply no way to improve what’s going wrong in the first place. In fact, without providing visibility for IT teams, many workers end up suffering in silence.
Remote working isn’t going away. According to Gartner, over 30% of organizations have already invested in a dedicated experience monitoring tool to support their teams better. Don’t get left behind. Speak to us today to learn more about how your workers are faring while working remote.
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