Jul 20, 2020 Hannah Lenane

The Remote Employee Experience Survey: Understanding the New Digital Workplace

In an industry-first survey of the digital workplace and remote employee experience post-COVID, we’ve found that enterprises are ill-equipped to support remote workers as the world shifts from office-based to anywhere-based
The New Digital Workplace: Employee Experiences with Universal Remote Working Since COVID

Today we’re unveiling the findings of the industry’s largest analysis of the remote employee experience and how working remotely has impacted the digital workplace in 2020.

In partnership with independent research agency Vanson Bourne, we’ve spent the last few months surveying employees across eight industries in the United States about the new relationship they have with their endpoints—and the remote employee experience with IT. We wanted to understand how the employee experience has been impacted by the mass shift to remote working in 2020, how IT has been supporting employees in their home office during this time, and how end users would score their satisfaction.

Remote workers want to trade the home office in exchange for WFA

Work from anywhere (WFA) is simply digital transformation of the endpoint. Pre-COVID, most organizations embraced digital transformation starting at the core. However, COVID has necessitated extremely rapid transformation at the edge, as most employees became remote workers, forced into the work from home (wfh) lifestyle, in a matter of weeks.

The long-term impact will be greater IT cohesion. Already, fragmented IT disciplines like end-user computing, digital workplace, employee experience, and ITSM are rapidly evolving into an emergent category, aptly named Work from Anywhere. Why? Because this crisis has brought into sharp relief the things that are most important to an employee that means they can be productive anywhere—endpoint performance, immediate response by IT, communication, and collaboration. If employees decide they are not going back to the office, then IT must support remote employees better, faster, and through all hours.

This is where our remote employee experience survey comes into play

“Never before have we had this level of insight about the experience employees have with their devices—and IT generally—in the post-COVID world. In the work from anywhere enterprise, endpoint management tools are the central nervous system because the endpoint is no longer just a device. Endpoints have now become much more personal and integral to the lives of all employees, enabling connection and communication. This research helps businesses understand the new digital employee experience and reimagine the traditional definition of the workplace,” says 1E Founder and CEO Sumir Karayi.

Our survey research found that enterprise IT teams are failing to deliver a positive remote employee experience across the board. Our data shows IT has more to do to prepare their organizations—and their people—for a work from anywhere enterprise in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

46m American people are now totally dependent on their laptop—but they’re dealing with an influx of issues crippling the remote digital employee experience

At its heart, the work from anywhere enterprise is about putting people first and serving their needs wherever they choose to work. But the survey data from our latest research ‘The New Digital Workplace: Employee Experiences with Universal Remote Working Since COVID’ indicates that IT teams, along with over-burdened and ill-equipped service desks, are struggling to meet the needs of newly remotely working employees.

Since the start of the pandemic, 46m people have moved from working in the office on a full-time basis to working from a home office – or remotely – full-time. That’s a significant amount of people forced into new ways of remote working overnight and who are totally reliant on their laptop for work and communication.

US employees take huge productivity hit when working remotely as 50m people experience repeat IT issues—and then wait hours, days, and weeks for those issues to be resolved.

Almost all US knowledge workers (98%) said that device performance is critical to their ability to work remotely, but 36m (53%) reported that their device performs slower outside the office and 33m (48%) flagged it as a top three issue that hinders their productivity, communication, and overall employee experience.

“IT must be able to understand and optimize the employee’s world through the endpoint. But what the research shows is that the speed of change has left legacy IT tools ineffective in their management of remote endpoints and the remote digital employee experience. This survey research proves that legacy tools must be replaced with a new generation of endpoint management solutions designed to cope with the complexities of the work from anywhere and home office enterprise; they need to be real-time, autonomic, and scalable,” Karayi concludes.

25m employees (37%) are also experiencing more issues working remotely, and those issues are taking much longer to resolve. 49m employees (72%) are reporting that it takes days and weeks to get issues fixed. Yet more worryingly, 50m employees (74%) experience repeat issues.

More issues, poor communication, and longer resolution times equates to a huge decrease in productivity. That’s because the lack of physical access to employees’ endpoints to fix issues at point of identification has made IT’s jobs much harder. Reliance on RDP, as well as ticket escalations and limited staff capacity, have all resulted in longer resolution times. Depending on the severity of the issue, it may mean that remote employees are unable to complete business-critical work while waiting for the issue to be resolved. This is quite possibly taking an emotional toll on employees already feeling the effects of a global health crisis. But it gets worse…

18m US employees are left unable to work at all due to service desk disruption

According to our experience survey, when issues are resolved 46m employees (68%) are disrupted by the service desk, with only 21m (31%) of employees able to continue their work during the process. Shockingly, 18m employees (26%) said they couldn’t work at all when an issue is being fixed. Needless to say, 50m people (74% of employees) are feeling less connected, and with poorer communication than ever to their colleagues.

So, remote employees are experiencing more issues, expect waiting longer for them to be resolved, and then – when they are being resolved – are unable to work during that time. Let’s put that into the context of how working practices have changed due to the pandemic. Because we’re no longer seeing our colleagues in the office, we’re spending more time writing emails and in digital meetings, already limiting the time we have in the average workday to do meaningful work (which is one reason why we all end up working longer hours in the home office). Adding IT disruption on top means that more employees will be feeling unproductive, likely leading to a sense of unfulfillment.

What else did we learn about remote working?

As well as the employee experience, the survey research also found other issues for IT to deal with on the journey to a work from anywhere enterprise. Most damagingly, security (50m or 73% of respondents aren’t concerned about their corporate device being hacked when working remotely outside the office) and software provisioning (24m or 35% of respondents don’t have all the software they need to continue remote working from home effectively).

Looking ahead: The future of the digital workplace is WFA

Remote employees are facing too much disruption that hinders their working experience and productivity, which has a negative impact on businesses and – by extension – the customer experience. It’s time for IT decision makers and executives to step up, understand what employees need in remote settings, and evolve the digital workplace so that it supports both employees and the business’s goals. Though on the surface, this may all seem doom and gloom, we’re here to help you to turn these insights into action and reap the benefits of WFA.

To help you build your WFA enterprise strategy, we’ve been running the first-ever ‘Work From Anywhere’ conferences with the likes of ServiceNow, Forrester, Microsoft, NTT DATA, and Dion Hinchcliffe of Constellation Research.

Bringing together industry leaders in endpoint management, digital experience monitoring, and ITSM, the conference unpicks the survey research and helps enterprises use the insights to build their work from anywhere IT strategy in 2020 and beyond.

Learn more about the #WFAConf here and get actionable advice and blueprints from a cross-functional group of IT strategy experts. If you’d like more on the research, you can read the full report here.