More than half of employed Americans (57%) have been working remotely since the beginning of the pandemic, and they don’t want it to end.
According to a study conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Sungard Availability Services, 95% of these individuals would prefer to work remotely, either full time (43%) or in some combination of remote and in-office work (51%). This preference for flexibility extends beyond just working Americans.
Nearly three in four respondents (74%), regardless of employment status, would prefer to work remotely. Thirty-seven percent ideally prefer not to return to the office, while 36% want a mix of both.
U.S. adults’ desire to have a voice in future working conditions isn’t just about flexibility, it’s about productivity.
Hybrid is here to stay
Seventy-eight percent of remote workers agree they would be most productive if they could choose to work remotely or in an office as needed. Roughly two in five (41%) strongly agree with this sentiment, according to the data.
Remote workers feel so strongly that over half (56%) would take a pay cut if it meant they could work full-time from any location.
Employers are well aware of their employees’ preference for work flexibility and are on board with the idea.
Per a Pulse survey conducted on behalf of Sungard AS, nearly 89% of organisations feel a mix of remote and in-office working is the ideal work situation moving forward, and 81% agree employees are most productive in this hybrid environment.
Whether businesses are actually ready for this permanent shift is another storey. Just under half of working Americans (48%) feel their company is prepared culturally to offer remote work to everyone, according to The Harris Poll survey. Technology to support productivity, connectivity, and security remains a big need.
Key resources for productive, secure hybrid work
It’s imperative that your employees can access the applications and workloads they need when they need them. This points to the importance of having highly available, connected infrastructure that will allow you to scale up and down based on demand. Companies must invest in high-performance, low-latency connectivity to provide optimal application performance.
Additionally, according to the Harris survey, 95% of remote workers say they have at least one item that is “absolutely essential” to working from home.
The most critical is high-speed internet (55%). Software that keeps work devices secure (49%) is next, followed by an easy-to-use system that lets you share files securely with co-workers (45%) and IT support that specialises in supporting remote workers (42%). Access to an office for doing presentations (32%) is also important, but less so than many of the technical items.
While a little less than seven in ten working Americans (68%) say their company provides the right technology for them to work remotely, it’s fair to wonder if they have the internal expertise and practises in place to support this environment.
As flexible working environments become the new normal, organisations must make sure they can keep it running effectively and securely. By modernising their infrastructure and securing their environment, businesses will be better positioned to sufficiently support a long-term remote workforce.
Companies also have their own doubts about security. Per the Pulse survey, only 21% of businesses are confident their infrastructure security can operate in a long-term remote working environment, and just 7.5% are very confident their security protections against phishing and ransomware attacks are adequate in a largely virtual environment.
Ultimately, managing the benefits of convenience with their associated security risks is a collective responsibility as the threat landscape evolves. There needs to be mutual trust between the security team and its constituents along with a shared understanding of the security and business needs. The security team should be flexible and focus on critical priorities that do not stagnate innovation. The goal is productive and efficient employees that have a good user experience without sacrificing security.
As adamant and in agreement as both employees and companies seem to be about the future of remote and hybrid work, there’s still plenty to work out to enable productivity and ensure security.