Now that it's clear remote work is here to stay, what are the technology priorities for IT departments charged with keeping the enterprise workforce productive and secure?
In a December report, research firm Gartner said it expects 48 per cent of employees will work from home, even after the pandemic, compared with 30 per cent pre-pandemic. Forrester, too, expects the remote worker population to remain elevated.
"While there is no clear end point to the pandemic yet, the number of employees working remotely will begin to dwindle, eventually settling in at 300 per cent of pre-pandemic levels at the minimum," wrote Forrester principle analyst David Johnson, in a blog post about 2021 remote work and automation trends.
"With that many people working remotely long-term, companies will need to rethink what that experience is like — not just from a technology and environment perspective but from leadership, change management, and career-growth perspectives, as well."
That shift can put extra pressure on enterprise IT groups tasked with locking down remote-office connectivity and security.
"As the pandemic wears on, we are seeing organisations solidifying their plans for remote working, including adding more sophisticated hardware and software for work from home, with primary drivers including security and productivity," said Neil Anderson, senior director of network solutions at World Wide Technology, a technology and supply chain services provider.
"For IT, this means quickly assessing and deploying new cloud-based security models and building trust quickly in a solution. We're also seeing a lot of interest in experience monitoring and optimising software to put better analytics in place around what the home-office employee app performance is like and how to make it better."