A recent survey from CNBC & Change Research found that 42% of respondents nationwide are working from home – a significant increase from the 9% who say they worked “completely from home” before the pandemic. And it has been interesting to witness the evolution of the conversation that organizations have been having about this major shift to remote work. There have been a few notable phases in the remote work conversation:
- Phase 1: Exploring the options – These were the conversations happening at the beginning, prior to mandatory Shelter in Place (SIP) orders, where organizations were considering their options in case they had to send workers home.
- Phase 2: Frantically sending people home – When SIP orders happened sooner than expected, many organizations found themselves sending people home without having a formal plan in place.
- Phase 3: Short-term planning – Once people were forced to work from home, many organizations needed to quickly put products and services in place to overcome their immediate, short-term issues – like how to get devices to people who didn’t have their own at home, or how to give everyone secure access to the information they needed from non-work devices.
- Phase 4: We’re going to be here a while – As SIP orders were extended, organizations began realizing they might need longer-term solutions to ensure that their people could remain productive no matter how long this lasted. And many organizations began realizing that long-term (or even permanent) work from home policies would be beneficial.
- Phase 5: Remote work is here to stay (at least for some) – These are the conversations we’re currently experiencing, with many organizations telling us that their long-term plans moving forward will include a much larger percentage of their people working from home on a permanent basis.
A recent PwC survey found that 49% of CFOs plan to make remote work a permanent option for roles that allow it. CNBC reports that 43% of full-time American employees say they want to work remotely more often even after the economy has reopened. And USA Today reports that a majority of people who are now working from home full-time say they are more productive because of the time saved by eliminating their commute (71%), fewer distractions from co-workers (61%), and fewer meetings (39%).
So, while it’s clear that many people who are currently working from home will eventually go back to an office – remote work will continue to be a major part of most organizations’ strategies moving forward. Some businesses – like startups trying to save money on real estate expenses – will move to a completely virtual model. While other businesses may change their policies so that people can work from home multiple days per week, but not full-time.
Regardless, remote work – in some shape or form – is here to stay. And if your organization is one of the many who will be supporting more remote workers moving forward, it’s time to think about the long-term solutions you need to support this shift on a permanent basis.
Don’t Settle for a Temporary Fix
For example, many organizations reflexively turned to VPNs as a solution to support the spike in remote workers – and the results were not good. TechTarget’s SearchNetworking reported that “VPN has become a bottleneck for companies with a high number of workers staying home to avoid spreading the coronavirus. Many companies have VPN concentrators or gateways with insufficient licensing or capacity to accommodate the unexpected demand, executives said. As a result, some businesses have had to scramble to provide network access to the high number of remote workers.”
Beyond the bottleneck issues caused by VPNs, there are significant sacrifices when it comes to both security and the user experience. From a security perspective – especially when you have a lot of people working from their own personal devices from home – VPNs introduce a big security risk. VPNs create a secure tunnel between the device and your corporate network, so if any of your users have malware on their personal devices, all a VPN does is directly connect that infected machine to your corporate network. And from a user experience, everyone who’s ever had to use a VPN knows the issues there. From the extra steps it takes to get logged on, to frequent disconnections/reconnections, to the familiar performance lag when you’re using applications over a VPN – it’s not an experience that is conducive to productivity. For a more in-depth look at why VPNs are not a long-term solution for remote work, check out this post.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) products like Citrix are another common “bandaid” fix that many organizations consider. We go into depth on the multitude of issues with VDI for enabling remote work here.
Many of you have probably already gone down one of the two routes above and have realized that’s not a viable long-term solution. You’re not alone, and the good news is that there are better, more secure, less complex, and less costly options that will help ensure long-term productivity for all of your people. Virtual application delivery platforms like Cameyo can help you provide your people with access to all of their business-critical applications from anywhere – and we can get you up and running in hours compared to weeks or months with VDI.
So, What Does Your Long-Term Solution Look Like?
To determine what you need in a long-term remote work solution, start by asking yourself a few key questions:
- What percentage of your people will be working at home full-time, and what percentage will be part-time?
- Do your remote employees need access to a full virtual desktop environment, or do they primarily need access to all of their business-critical applications from any device?
- Are you comfortable with installing pre-cloud technology like VDI in your environment? Will that disrupt your business’ digital transformation plans?
- Do you have the personnel required to manage that VDI infrastructure full-time?
- Will any of your users be on personal (or BYOD) devices that you’re not comfortable letting behind the corporate firewall?
- What is the true cost of the products you’re evaluating? For example – if looking for a solution to deliver business-critical applications to any device, does that solution include all usage fees, or is there potential for bill shock each month depending on your people’s usage?
- From a device security perspective, are you able to separate your people’s devices from the applications that they use?
- From a data security perspective, does the solution that you use wipe a user’s session and file data after each session?
- What is the learning curve for the solution you’re evaluating? Will it enable your people’s workflows seamlessly, or will it disrupt productivity?
Want guidance, or want to discuss your options? Reach out to us and our remote work experts will schedule time to discuss your answers above and provide feedback. Or if you want to check out Cameyo’s virtual application delivery platform for yourself first, you can start a free trial here and be up and running within minutes.