Jan 12, 2021 Navpreet Kundal

Assessing IT’s readiness for the year of flexible working

In our latest research about the IT and employee experience during the pandemic, we’ve uncovered a perceptible disconnect between the lived experience of employees in 2020 and the outlook of IT organizations.
Assessing IT’s readiness for the year of flexible working

Today we’re unveiling the findings of our latest research, 2021: Assessing IT’s readiness for the year of flexible working. 

In partnership with independent research house, Vanson Bourne, we surveyed 150 IT managers and 150 employees in large organizations across 8 industries about their experience of supporting an unprecedented number of remote workers. For greater insight, we benchmarked and contrasted these results with the stats uncovered in our employee survey, The New Digital Workplace: Employee experiences with universal remote working since COVID. The aim was to understand how well aligned IT’s objectives, priorities, and mindsets are to employees’ needs and sentiments.

Long-term flexible working is here to stay

To many, remote working felt like a novelty imposed by necessity. Last year, 46m people moved from working in the office on a full-time basis to working from home full-time. That’s a significant amount of people forced into new ways of working overnight and who are totally reliant on their laptop for work and communication.

This extraordinary situation created problems for employees as their IT team struggled to support them with tools that were, frankly speaking, never designed with remote workers in mind. A surprising two-thirds (37%) of employees experienced more IT issues working remotely, and those issues also took much longer to resolve. 72% stated that it took days and weeks to get issues fixed. Yet more worryingly, three-quarters (74%) experienced repeat issues.

Despite this, 83% of organizations are planning for long term remote working. That means IT organizations the world over will need to optimize their IT infrastructures to support employees anywhere.

And that’s where our research can help. We’ve uncovered the gaps in the IT infrastructure that prevent employees from having the best possible remote working experience…

Less than two-thirds of IT organizations routinely ask employees about their IT experience

2020 highlighted that IT teams struggle to engage in meaningful conversations with remote employees due to a lack of integrated sentiment-gathering processes. Even when a major deployment takes place, less than half (42%) will ask employees for feedback about their experience.

Joining up sentiment with infrastructure optimization must be a priority for IT organizations in 2021. Our research proves that IT needs more programmatic ways to gather feedback from employee to deliver on their needs. That becomes more palpable when you consider the number of changes IT will enact to support remote workers, from deploying new software to implementing new processes. How do you know if they’re working if you don’t ask your employees?

Almost three-quarters of service desks found fixing IT issues more difficult last year

The sudden rush to remote work proved problematic for employees. Not only did 69% of service desks struggle to cope with demand, over a third of employees experienced more IT issues. But that’s not even the worst bit…

While over half of employees stated they were dissatisfied with the service desk experience in 2020, every surveyed IT manager (and we mean 100%) believes employees were completely satisfied with the service desk experience.

How is that possible?

The problem seems to lie with the use of legacy systems that, put simply, were never designed with remote workers in mind. That’s why over half of service desks spent most of their time last year trying to improve the Mean Time to Remediation but 37% of employees waited longer than usual to get IT issues resolved. The end result? A disconnect between how service desks measured success and how employees really felt.

Three quarters of IT roadmaps aren’t even focused on employee needs

Our most surprising discovery is that IT roadmaps are grossly misaligned to employees’ needs. An overwhelming 73% of IT told us that tech trends drive their IT roadmaps while only half are driven by internal department needs.

Although “bright and shiny” tech may feel seductive in the face of new and complex challenges, they’ll fail to deliver on your expectations if they’re not mapped to user needs. So, you’ve got to be asking yourself, “Does my IT roadmap deliver on the promise of a better employee digital experience”?

Get on the front foot in 2021

You’ll find many more useful insights in this research that connects employees’ frustrations, desires, and needs with the current state of IT. To help you on your journey to user-driven IT optimization, we’ve also included a nifty IT readiness self-assessment checklist so you can see how your IT organization performs against delivering on your employees’ key challenges in 2021.