Remote working is here to stay. Even if some degree of normal work life returns, there has been an unmistakable and irreversible shift. IT teams now need to support distributed workers by default. That means rolling out software, deploying new devices and establishing policies all need to be considered with the remote worker first – rather than as an afterthought.
Learning this lesson hasn’t been easy. A September 2020 study canvassed the opinions of 500 IT professionals and 500 former office workers now operating remotely. Only 26% of these workers believe that the technology experience of working from home is better than in the office, with 58% sharing that security products are to blame for making productivity more difficult.
It’s been hard for the IT team too. Three quarters reported a growth in inbound support tickets, with almost a third describing it as a significant increase.
Why is distributed working so hard to support?
That same survey asked IT leaders to reveal their most painful challenges when enabling employees working from their homes. Almost half of respondents listed network reliability as a major issue, with cybersecurity problems also a common concern. Participants were over 15% more likely to encounter software issues than hardware ones.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that network management is such a difficult domain. Most work environments used to be fairly easy to control. The majority of employees worked in fixed locations, using carefully provisioned devices and connecting to corporate-managed networks. When things go wrong, it was easy to diagnose and remediate issues as they emerged. Was it the application? The device? The configuration? Something in the network? Most IT teams had access to a variety of tools that could identify experience problems and figure out how to overcome them. With workers now operating entirely outside the corporate network, that visibility is almost entirely gone. Helpdesk has no insight into employees’ home Wi-Fi or their cellular connections.
The common theme across all of these challenges is a lack of visibility. More than a quarter of participants shared that diagnosing experience issues was an obstacle to success.
Visibility is at the heart of what has been driving the antidote to the situation for many organizations. One of the fastest growing technologies is the broad category of experience monitoring – labelled as Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) by Gartner and End-User Experience Monitoring (EUEM) by Forrester. One in three organizations are now using experience monitoring tools to get more insight into the remote working experience, gathering data to better identify, diagnose and remediate common experience problems for employees.
“Technology plays a massive role in employee experience (EX) and engagement, but if you don’t have visibility into technology experience, you won’t be able to improve it.”Forrester Now Tech: End-User Experience Management, Q3 2020 by Andrew Hewitt with Stephanie Balaouras, Rich Lane, Tyler Brown, and Diane Lynch August 2020
Improving the employee experience can be everything from updating the software to fixing a recurring network problem. Reducing remote worker frustration can improve morale, increase productivity and even be measured in dollars in many cases – experience monitoring often has a measurable ROI. Read about some of these stories, as well as more of the findings from this study and the best of what analysts like Gartner and Forrester have to say on the subject in our free interactive report. You don’t even need to share your email address to access it.