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WFH success leads to questions about HQ, remote offices
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

The pandemic has turned popular opinion of the office-centric corporate model on its head. But have recent global events actually doomed the enterprise office forever?

According to a string of recent studies, the answer is mixed.

For starters, despite many companies scrambling to build a WFH infrastructure on the fly back in the spring, the success of these accelerated transformations won over a lot of skeptics: Roughly three quarters of the employers polled by PwC in their US Remote Work Survey have called WFH a success so far.

As we’ve covered recently on the blog, many workers will want to keep WFH as an option once the pandemic subsides at least part of the time, as workers and employers alike agree the increased benefits to health, wellness and productivity do exist in a remote-first world.

However, research from Harvard Business Review (HBR) proposes a different kind of future, where some of the corporate logic of the past will still apply even as the “head office” as we know it fades into oblivion.

For starters, HBR claims that those who have forecast a mass exodus to the suburbs so workers can avoid clustered, socially-non-distant city life likely won’t happen. As companies like Amazon have shown, investments into “hub cities” was an expensive trend pre-pandemic, and HBR predicts that the value of having employees who live and work within the same community is still important (and worth the previous investment).

Instead, HBR predicts that clusters of smaller remote offices in hub cities will become the corporate trend in favor of headquarters with huge footprints. This trend will be supported by a reimagining of what an office should represent, serving the purpose of a place for collaboration rather than dedicated heads-down work that users can mostly do from home.

“From a resilience perspective, this model offers more options from where people can work in the event of disruptions like a natural disaster, a power outage, compromised infrastructure, or a major traffic disruption.,” the HBR research claims. “From a business development perspective, it can bring organizations closer to their clients or customers — even offering options for co-locating with them.”

The benefits of the remote office are nothing new, but similar to how the pandemic acted as the surprise accelerant for digital transformation where WFH was involved, it will similarly start speeding up enterprise decentralization, calling for the continued rise in the number of remote offices IT are tasked with supporting.

With workers forecast to be all over the map in the future, accessing enterprise resources from virtually any location, there are going to be a lot more stakeholders involved in delivering network traffic to users. From residential ISPs to the different providers contracted to support remote offices, IT teams need to be able to zero in on network experience from any location at any time going forward to effectively ensure performance.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: network performance monitoring, network monitoring, wfh success, wfh monitoring, wfh, remote workforce, work from home, remote workers, remote office monitoring, headquarters, remote offices, remote office, hub, hub city

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