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Leading experts predict work-from-anywhere future
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

You can’t be blamed for feeling a bit of whiplash when reading predictions on the future of work over the past few months. While enterprise decentralization has been growing for the better part of the past decade, the pandemic-induced rush to remote work proved to many once-skeptical business leaders that the office isn’t necessarily essential to employee productivity.

Still, there has been a steady drum of support for those who think the office is not only going to survive the pandemic, but that for many businesses their remote office footprint may actually expand after WFH orders have lifted.

In a recent New York Times op-ed, real estate and tech expert Dror Poleg shares a vision of the future office that’s been similarly prophesied by Harvard Business Review: Less emphasis on a corporate hub architecture and a need for companies to meet talent on their terms, where they want to work.

“The defining characteristic of this new version of the creative class may not be where it lives, but its ability to live anywhere it wants. Put differently, people move to certain cities in search of better-paying jobs, but it’s now possible to earn high (if not the highest) salaries from almost anywhere,” Poleg writes.

What does this mean for enterprise IT?

For starters, it means that the success of the larger business hinges more than ever on the ability of the corporate network to deliver workflows and resources out to a remote workforce, even if their workers aren’t universally deemed WFH. That’s because even though the corporate office may not be going away after the pandemic, the traditional 9-to-5 workweek is certainly due to evolve (if not disappear entirely).

Poleg and others also envision a blurring of the lines between residential and commercial districts going forward as workers won’t be expected to travel as far as they may have in the past to collaborate with their teams in person. The implications here are manifold, as many metropolitan hubs have designated business districts that are primed with access to a wealth of commercial-grade resources (ie. ISP density to deliver high throughput business tools) that may not be currently or easily available in more far-flung locations.

This calls for enterprise teams to rethink their understanding of what “good” or “bad” performance really means in 2021 versus a pre-pandemic, office-centric enterprise world. IT teams need to figure out going forward how they can help ensure users have access to resources from virtually anywhere, even as the last-mile connections out to users become increasingly complicated (or even opaque).

The onus of delivering optimal connectivity out to remote users doesn’t fall solely on enterprise IT, as ISPs and even the federal government are recognizing the dangers of poor connectivity out to residential and rural communitie, and are making steps to help bring that “commercial-grade” throughput beyond designated city centers.

Until these large-scale ISP and federal transformation projects get off the ground, however, enterprise IT teams are going to need to find ways to help users attain satisfactory end-user experience from where they sit today. This starts with defining the threshold for what is considered acceptable in terms of performance now, whether that means matching what users are accustomed to experiencing in-office or resetting expectations and mapping out improvement projects for the long-term.

It all comes down to enterprise IT teams increasing their focus on network and application performance from the end-user perspective, as each individual who accesses the network today is essentially a remote office unto themselves. Rather than approaching network improvements and quality assurance through the lens of a branch location or HQ, for instance, teams need to be able to understand what each worker is experiencing from their own workstation to truly ensure success.

Gaining this per-user insight may seem like a tall order, but with AppNeta’s highly scalable Workstation Monitoring Point capabilities, enterprise IT teams can deploy this visibility and organize the data into a single pane of glass that helps teams gain a complete picture of network performance. AppNeta can help teams see behind previous network blindspots to zero in on performance issues quickly and remedy them before they become chronic across the entire WAN footprint.

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Tags: end user, end user experience, network performance monitoring, network management, cloud computing, cloud, network performance, enterprise network, distributed enterprise, distribution, decentralization, WFA, hybrid office, WFH, work from home, work from anywhere, remote work

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