Work from anywhere is the new normal, and you’re not ready!

Ed Joras, Business Development Specialist at CDW, discussed how trends that had been building over years were forced to accelerate and deliver under the pressure of a global crisis, and there’s no going back.

September 30 2020 by

Kathryn Joy

The landscape and needs of work have fundamentally changed, and this JNUC session provided the lens for you to jump into fast-forward mode and prepare for the future based on analysis and trends of the pre-pandemic state, immediate response, and future needs as anticipated by Ed Joras from CDW.

In March of 2020, the NCAA’s March Madness was canceled but the madness persisted in the global experience of responding to COVID-19. Joras explained that things that should have occurred over years happened in weeks, not because enterprises and people were prepared, but because they had no alternative but to adapt and adapt quickly.

The changes that were made in this quick response time were made with the idea that this was a temporary change, a fluctuation in response to the immediate need, but the temporary has become a state of permanence. And enterprises need to anticipate the needs of IT, business and end users as one comprehensive future state. All needs are intertwined and directly affect the others.

With this shift to the work from anywhere world, hardware and device stocks were overhauled with the shift from desktops to notebooks and mobile devices. VPNs were upgraded and adapted to support the need for improved security & authentication. But these actions were reactionary. The time for visionary decision making and anticipating future states is here.

In a study by McKinsey & Co., Joras presented the difference in work from home workers before and after the “March Madness”.

Prior to the pandemic response in industries’ workforces, 80% of people polled wanted a work from home option but less than 5% were provided full-time remote opportunities.

Why? Because management simply didn’t want to have remote workers. The belief was that employees couldn’t be trusted to work without a physical presence and the oversight of management. They were wrong. Employees are more productive in a work from anywhere state and employers save money not only in the value of productivity and efficiency of their employees but also facility and overhead costs.

The crisis forced employers to work through the obstacles that discouraged this transition in a pre-pandemic workforce. Joras defines anticipation as a skill. One that can be learned and honed, but we need to start now. Technology can’t be separated from business. IT must anticipate business needs and business support and IT must merge.

Some people are asking: when the world will return to normal? when they will be back in the office and shift back to the traditional workforce? Those are the wrong questions.

We should be asking;

  • What is the future state vision for the office? (Spoiler alert: it’s “Anywhere”.)
  • Are we ready?

Joras also presented his core principles for the future:

  • Flexibility and speed
  • Quick action while anticipating and understanding risks
  • Replace silos with holistic and comprehensive approaches

And he poses the future of the workforce as a “great migration” to SUWYWT (sue-whit), or “Show up when you want to”.

So, are you ready? To anticipate the needs of this future state, employers and IT should plan for everything — policies, processes, solutions, everything — to be scalable or replaceable.

The time is now to look at legacy systems and VPN. You might need to have short term answers but you need to look forward to your long term solutions and assess what processes need to change, what equipment needs to be refreshed or exchanged, and what policies are in place to support this revamped workforce.

And Joras’ plan for how to prepare for the future that has already arrived doesn’t stop there. From at-home equipment to travel or termination policies, every aspect of the workforce will need to adapt. Anticipating the consequences of this shift, agilely and quickly adjusting to the landscape, and planning for the future is the future of the workforce.

You can now watch this JNUC session on-demand.

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