The pandemic changed a lot of things. The work experience – what, where, when – is one of them. The pandemic has proven work can be done outside traditional offices – and as we continue to see the economy reopen, the expectation that work can be done (and will be permitted) from our homes, coffee shops or inside a traditional office, I believe, will continue.
Furthermore, this shift in the work experience has drastically changed employees’ expectations:
- Over 70% of workers want flexible remote work options to continue. Microsoft
- 66% of business decision makers are considering redesigning physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments. Microsoft
- 69% of workers say they are more likely to consider a new role that allows them to work from a location of their choice. Gartner
- 64% are more likely to consider a role that allows for flexible hours. Gartner
- The percentage of workers permanently working from home is expected to double in 2021. Enterprise Technology Research
This trend will be the new norm and there is no going back. I think work models will see us work two days from home, two days in the office and one day from Starbucks! (or somewhere similar!) We’ve proven that remote work doesn’t destroy productivity and it’s clear that many employees don’t want to go back to the old ways of working.
In this kind of environment, reliance on portable devices continues to grow as the amount of time that workers spend on laptops, smartphones or tablets increased 11% over the past year.
“When organizations were forced to go remote in early 2020, workers started to rely on their own devices or programs that they discovered themselves to make up for their employers’ technology shortcomings,” said Whit Andrews, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “In 2021, organizations can embrace this trend by expanding the choice of devices and software programs that workers can use with little or no friction.”
Many Cool Choices
As we embrace this new way of working, businesses need to equip staff with the right technology. The IT industry has responded by quickly bringing many compelling new technologies to market:
- WiFi 6/6E: If you haven’t upgraded to the 6th generation of WiFi, you’re missing out! The improvements in speed, access and network performance make it the biggest enhancement for mobile computing since Centrino™!
- AI: You and I are now using AI every single day – I’m talking about the AI in new laptops that makes for sharper background blur on video calls and noise suppression features that can mute out barking dogs in our home offices without impacting sound quality.
- Intel vPro® Platform: Now more than ever the ability to support staff easily and efficiently from anywhere at any time isn’t nice to do, it’s a must-have.
- Security: Hybrid work environments can increase security risk, which is why we’re seeing hardware-based memory encryption with Intel® SGX and crypto-acceleration technology built into the latest processors, helping to keep us and our data even more secure.
It is great to now see the major manufacturers taking all these great technologies and introducing really cool new devices that are built to help businesses and their staff thrive in the hybrid world.
- Check out the new Samsung Galaxy Book Pro, which offers always-connected capabilities, with 5G, WiFi 6 and Bluetooth in a stunning form factor that is only 11mm thick!
- If you’re staring at your device more, than you want the best screen you can get, right? The Displays on the new HP Firefly products are best in breed — higher contrast, deeper color, secure views, and anti-glare!
- Dell’s new Latitude 9520 is a complete package, configurable as a laptop or 2-in-1 with compelling graphics, connectivity and security.
- The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano laptop is a 2-lb powerhouse that can run all day, is visually stunning and fully loaded with all of the expected ThinkPad™ indestructability!
At Intel, we’ve tried to make it easier to identify which are the latest, greatest and best devices by creating the Intel Evo™ brand, which manufacturers are able to use once their systems have passed a litany of tests that confirm their devices meet the standards for high performance laptops.
You’re Being Judged by Your Tools
Cost is always a factor when businesses are upgrading technology, but in today’s hybrid workplace where devices are so important to workers, investment is required — or you might find your best and brightest headed for the door.
Millennials, (which are the largest and fastest-growing segment of the workforce) are most likely to consider technology and support an important part of their work experience, according to IDC. Even 19% of baby boomers say technology frustration may make them look for work elsewhere.
There’s No Going Back
Microsoft’s workplace index found 41% of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year, and 46% say they’re likely to move because they can now work remotely. These are HUGE numbers and reflect the sea change taking place in the workplace. I am seeing this today, with accelerated staff moves happening right now in the distribution community. Since people can now work for companies on the other side of the country or the other side of the world, they’re taking advantage of that opportunity!
If you want to be a player in this new world order, your staff needs, and wants, the best tools. It’s not just an investment in technology, it’s an investment in employee satisfaction, and quite likely retention. It’s recognizing the new reality: Work is what you do, not where you do it!