The highs, lows and “hard nos” of remote work
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

As the third calendar year of the pandemic approaches, remote work is no longer a “new normal” but an operational standard at many companies, as more than 53 percent of new workers hired over the past 18 months were onboarded remotely, according to a new survey.

The research, conducted by Microsoft in association with YouGov, found that more than half of workers in the United Kingdom who currently abide by a hybrid work schedule—one where they have the choice to mix remote and office working—would sooner quit their job than forego that flexibility.

While this data specifically analyzes worker trends in the UK, it mirrors similar findings stateside and across the globe: The “great resignation” or “great reshuffling” is underway, as job-to-job moves are at their highest levels in nearly two decades, both across the pond and in the United States.

Despite these firm wishes from workers to retain flexibility in their schedules, they do admit to facing an uphill battle when it comes to starting a new role in a remote work setting.

While 36 percent of those workers polled started a new job during the pandemic without ever entering an office, 42 percent of remote hires have struggled to form working relationships from home. Other prevalent challenges include lacking guidance “in the room” from a manager or team member (33 percent), a negative learning curve when it comes to new software and applications (24 percent) and struggles when it comes to “earning the confidence of colleagues” (23 percent).

Although these challenges are significant (and have the potential to compound in a remote setting when not quickly addressed), many of them stem from companies simply still catching up to best practices when it comes to managing a decentralized workforce. Despite needing to smooth out better remote onboarding—specifically, a process that views remote or hybrid work as a permanent fixture opposed to a stop-gap—remote work is still viewed not just favorably, but as a competitive advantage by those polled.

Not having a hybrid work model was the top concern of 38 percent of HR professionals polled when it came to retaining new talent, for instance, while 25 percent of those polled believe the absence of a remote policy will have a negative impact on productivity. Further, 23 percent of respondents predict greater employee burnout as well as an inability to keep pace with the competition should the company not offer schedule flexibility.

“The pandemic has proven that organisations can trust their people to be productive wherever they are. They now have an opportunity to reshape work around individual roles, preferences and even personal lives. This is achievable through tech-enabled hybrid working models, which supports the creation of a rich digital culture to benefit everyone, helping to attract and retain top talent,” said Nick Hedderman, Director of Modern Work Business Group at Microsoft UK, in the report.

But enabling successful remote work isn’t just a matter of policy.

If a company doesn’t have the network infrastructure in place to safely and securely connect a distributed workforce with the tools and resources they need to access work remotely, their competitive disadvantages will be far more than just an HR issue.

With workers logging onto the corporate network from all over the globe and accessing cloud resources outside the traditional “on-premises” parameters of the office-based network, IT teams need visibility into all of the new work-from-anywhere environments where business takes place. This is essential to ensuring end users are able to experience the network (and by proxy do their job) with the same efficacy they can in the office, at home, or on the road.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: future of work , study , report , microsoft , work from office , work from anywhere , work from home , hybrid work , remote work , DEM , digital experience monitoring , digital experience , network performance monitoring , network monitoring , network management