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The Resiliency Remit: How to Enable the Hybrid Future of Work

HPE-Hybrid-Workplace-Digital-Workplace.jpg A recent IDC survey revealed that 62% of IT and business leaders believe their organizations will expand resiliency plans in 2021 and 2022 to support unique requirements of the pandemic.  But what does that mean exactly? Traditionally, resiliency has been framed in terms of responding to business disruptions and restoring operations in a timely fashion.  However, this definition of resiliency is no longer enough - it's  not enough to simply respond or restore. 

Digital resiliency shifts the focus from responding reactively to adapting and moving forward proactively.  Listening to industry leaders and technology vendors announce plans to reopen their work sites for business, I am struck by how clearly divided organizations are between those that want to return to pre-pandemic ways of working and those who want to invent new hybrid ways of working.  The one thing everyone can agree on:  this won't be easy, but it will be worth the work.

Why Hybrid Work Models Are Difficult to Get Right

One of the interesting aspects of any crisis is that it brings people together who ordinarily might not work side by side.  For an organization to successfully adapt and become digitally resilient requires far more than expanding traditional deployment models, moving to the cloud, and shoring up security protocols and self-service help desks to support remote work and the hybrid workplace.  It requires true cross-functional leadership and engagement across IT, HR, operations, finance, and other functions.  When IDC asked survey respondents which functions are most involved in leading and scaling resiliency across the organization, IT and technology led the way (64%), supported by finance/risk/ compliance (43%), operations (39%), strategy (39%), HR (34%).  No doubt these functions will be engaged in different measure as working on-site accelerates and evolves in 2021, but that's not what matters. What does matter is having a digital "dream team" of executives who can effectively address the challenges of a dynamic hybrid work landscape.

Beyond a cohesive leadership team, hybrid work requires a cohesive technology deployment strategy. (See: What is digital workplace?) Organizations that were most successful at navigating change during the last 18 months had already shifted to cloud based deployments that could ease the massive transition to remote work.  IDC’s most recent survey data shows that in the next two years over half of IT and business leaders are looking to invest in key areas that target support for hybrid work models from automation and augmentation of business operations (61%) to critical digital trust programs (59%) that ensure security, privacy, and compliance.  Some 58% will invest in digital infrastructure that supports cloud-based and autonomous IT operations, and 55% will invest in workplace transformation initiatives that focus on building collaborative workspaces, enabling talent development and management in digital work environments.  Shoring up hybrid work will take an integrated stack of technologies that offer intelligent digital workplaces to connect onsite and remote workers, provide cloud-managed connectivity services, and automate repetitive tasks and workflows. Beyond the technology, making hybrid work a success requires a keen leadership focus on the evolving nature of the employee experience.

Other key success factors include:

  • Addressing the question of how to evolve and sustain corporate culture across the constraints of physical distance as organizations determine when and how workers will balance their time working remotely
  • Instrumenting office buildings, factories, and other work sites to ensure proper safety measures in the short term and evolving work and social habits in the long term
  • Determining worksite strategy relative to workforce or work sourcing strategies to address talent and skills needs.

Build a Self-Sustaining System that Supports a Resilient Hybrid Work Model

IDC believes the key to a resilient work transformation lies in building a self-sustaining system that not only reacts to the current dynamic business climate but also animates the work life cycle to:

  • Attract and retain top talent by utilizing mobile, social, and smart recruitment systems and remote on-boarding to draw from a much larger talent pool
  • Harness well-integrated performance management systems, enabling a balance of sourcing and contract models that draw in full-time, contract, and gig workers within and beyond the organization
  • Adopt virtualization and automation to enable remote work and learning, which will sustain a skilled workforce and spark innovation based on secure employee access to key resources from any location or device
  • Create a culture of trust by offering organizational leaders the data and insights they need to move to agile practices and build experience-centric organizations that drive business growth and attract top talent

IDC predicts that by 2021, three-quarters of G2000 organizations will commit to providing technical parity to a workforce that is hybrid by design, enabling employees to work together, separately, and in real time. The question is: What will you do to be one of them?

Learn more about workplace IT solutions from HPE Pointnext Services.

Amy Loomis.jpgThis guest post, sponsored by HPE, was authored by Amy Loomis, Research Director for IDC’s worldwide Future of Work market research service.  In this role, Ms. Loomis covers the growing influence of technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, robotics, augmented and virtual reality, and intelligent process automation in changing the nature of work. Her research looks at how these technologies influence workers’ skills and behaviors, organizational culture, worker experience and how the workspace itself is enabling the future enterprise.

 

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