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2021 AppNeta Survey reveals Employee Expectations of IT as Companies consider Work from Anywhere

With the pandemic pushing organizations to transform workplace models, data from AppNeta identifies high End-User expectations for the Future of Work

AppNeta, the leader in actionable, 4-Dimensional network performance monitoring, revealed the results of AppNeta’s 2021 State of Work from Anywhere Outlook Report, which identified end-user expectations for the future of work, highlighting the rise of “work from anywhere” and how this shift in the workforce model will impact IT teams spanning industries in the near future and post-COVID.

As many companies across the nation continue remote work, the rise in vaccine availability has challenged business leaders to identify a logical next step for their employees, keeping safety and talent retention top of mind. The study, of 1,000 people across the United States, examined the views of Americans that rely on the internet to do their jobs and identified critical areas to address in order for a business to successfully take on a work from anywhere model.

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The Workforce has Moved on – and they are Unwilling to Return

According to AppNeta’s 2021 State of Work from Anywhere Outlook Report, nearly 80% state that their preferred work environment long-term would include an element of remote work. Employees are looking for flexibility and a hybrid model, either hoping to work remotely permanently or have the option to come into a physical office only when needed. Further, nearly three-quarters would be interested in their employer adopting a “work from anywhere” approach, allowing them the freedom to pick and choose where they set up work each day.

Surprisingly, since March of 2020, 21% of respondents relocated from their original address, with the American workforce now nearly evenly dispersed among urban areas, suburban areas and rural areas, identifying the need for companies to be able to provide the same level of user-experience across vastly different regions. This broader trend of urban decentralization creates new challenges for already strapped IT teams, as delivering optimal internet connectivity to residential and rural communities can be a challenging task, requiring employers and IT teams to set user expectations around the quality of their network performance.

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Managing Employee Expectations with Technology

The events of the past year have challenged companies regardless of industry to move entire workforces to operate productively at home, essentially creating IT support needs for individual offices, where each employee resided amid the pandemic. Of the technology-related issues causing frustration in the past year for remote employees, the biggest gripe was internet connectivity, with almost half (44%) of respondents expressing their frustration. Another top stressor was issues with video calls, with 40% of respondents identifying freezing screens and challenges with popular tools such as Zoom. Unsurprisingly, more than one-third of end-users shared that they were frustrated by technology challenges and experiences with their employer’s IT team since the pandemic, even though 21% of respondents acknowledged that the IT team may be doing their best in the circumstances.

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“Now a year into the pandemic we are seeing organizations define more concrete plans for their long-term work strategy. Whether the approach is fully remote, or a hybrid setting, IT should be involved in these conversations early on. Anything is possible with the right resources, but Enterprise IT, and the Solution Partners they depend on, absolutely need to play a strategic role in how the business transforms to better support the new style of working in the year ahead. That may include adding additional solutions to their arsenal,” said John Tewfik, Director of Global Alliances, AppNeta.

As business leaders strategize what the “new normal” will look like for their organizations, those adopting “work from anywhere” will want to set clear expectations for IT support with remote employees. In a “work from anywhere” environment, employee expectations are high, with nearly half of those surveyed wanting support from the IT team with critical applications they use, 37% expecting support for internet connectivity issues, 35% expecting support with hardware and one-third expecting IT to support them in learning any new tools provided by the company.

“The pandemic completely blew up most IT departments’ support model for their remote users.” stated Matt Stevens, CEO of AppNeta. “Remote office visibility for the end user experience of business critical applications was already a challenge for many, but in the new normal, the ‘user-to-problem ratio’ is now often 1-to-1 vs. hundreds-to-1 that used to be the norm with large groups of users consistently working on a regular schedule from a given office location. The IT prioritization process of understanding truly critical applications and their associated users and achieving alignment with the lines of business has never been more critical to the success of the overall business.”

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