Oct 03 2022

Everything, Everywhere: The Evolution of Business Support for Hybrid Work

Hybrid work changed the nature of business operations, and they must evolve to support it at scale.

For many companies, hybrid work offers the right balance between fully remote and completely in-office operations. As noted by the Harvard Business School, hybrid workers outrank their peers in the total number of emails sent, the quality of their work product and their work-from-home satisfaction. Data compiled by The Washington Post, meanwhile, found that over the past six months, workers have settled into schedules that see them working from home approximately 30 percent of the time.

This suggests a sustainable future for hybrid work that allows both businesses and staff to benefit — so long as enterprises are prepared for the commensurate evolution of business support required to foster effective hybrid environments.

DISCOVER: How Cisco solutions support hybrid work.

 

Emerging Challenges: Where Hybrid Work Needs Work

According to a recent Cisco survey, 62 percent of staff say that hybrid working options impact their decision to stay in current jobs or find new positions. The challenge? Just 1 in 4 of these employees say that companies are “very prepared” to meet the future of hybrid work.

Justin Fields, sales business development manager at Cisco, says this challenge stems in part from the fact that “everything is living everywhere, all at once.” Resources must be equally accessible to staff both at home and in the office, even as companies look to shore up hastily designed hybrid frameworks and create shared cultures of security and responsibility.

Add in the fact that different employees have different experiences with hybrid — 24 percent are happy with current models, 23 percent want to see more change, 39 percent feel they aren’t being heard and 13 percent are looking for more in-office connection — and companies face a significant challenge in creating support models that work for everyone, everywhere, all the time.

Justin Fields
Cisco is transitioning from a hardware and software company to an ‘IT everything’ company.”

Justin Fields Sales Business Development Manager, Cisco

Leveraging Technology to Solve the Support Gap in Hybrid Work

To help close this support gap, Fields says, businesses should consider three key areas for improvement.

·     Security. Fields notes that Cisco has integrated multiple services into a security platform that offers a single-pane-of-glass view for complete visibility and control. “With everything living everywhere, our SecureX platform helps secure everything, everywhere,” he says. “That’s because we need to protect everything in this environment, including the employee, the application and the cloud.”

·      Management. Fields says he recognizes the benefits of a comprehensive platform for hybrid work management, but he also acknowledges that it’s challenging to create a single-pane-of-glass experience. “This requires full-stack observability that includes DevOps, DevSecOps, etc.,” he says. “Traditionally, when something happens, there’s always finger-pointing: It’s the network, it’s the applications. Full-stack observability with tools like Webex help bridge the gap from a management perspective. We can find where the trouble is and fix it.”

·      Connectivity. To keep employees happy, they must be able to easily connect to the network. Companies want to meet employees where they are, but the definition of productivity has changed. How do enterprises provide the connectivity and flexibility necessary? “I preach the ecosystem,” says Fields. “Cisco is transitioning from a hardware and software company to an ‘IT everything’ company. With so many vendors, we’re trying to make it simple, and we’re leading the pack with everything from our Catalyst and Meraki networking pieces to our consumption-based model that helps companies shift from CAPEX to OPEX.”

LEARN MORE: Learn how Cisco plans to improve hybrid work. 

Forging a Hybrid Future With Enhanced Collaboration

As they move forward in building hybrid environments, enterprises are best served by leaning into the productivity and morale benefits offered by flexible frameworks, while deploying the security, management and connectivity tools necessary to keep track of everything, everywhere, all the time.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, the challenge was collaboration,” Fields says. “Now that things are opening up, the biggest challenge is getting back to the office but still providing that flexibility. Some workers want to go back, but only for two or three days per week. Organizations now face the question of how we make this happen.’”

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