By Duncan Greenwood, VP & GM NEMEA, EMEA Lead for Diversity & Inclusion at VMware The future of work is finally here For as long as I’ve been in the business, tech communities have talked about the ‘future of work’ as some vague, far-off concept. Often, the conversation revolved around the same areas. We wanted […]
By Stevan Jovanovic, EUC Manager, METNA
It turns out the Millennials were right all along!
When the pandemic began, millions of employees were sent home, with their laptops, to work remotely.
In a matter of weeks, organizations greatly accelerated the implementation of technologies that enable digital employee interaction and collaboration such as videoconferencing, remote connectivity and digital workspaces. Working from home became the norm.
Before the pandemic, remote work struggled to gain traction, despite the pleas of a new generation who wanted freedom in where to perform their job – home or office or coffee shop- and freedom in how to perform – on any device or application or OS. For the most part, organizations resisted, claiming lost productivity and security concerns.
The pandemic turned remote working into a necessity. Now almost every organization has deployed the technology that provides employees with the right environment to promote productivity and creativity. At VMware, we have been preaching this for years: freedom, choice and flexibility are the future of work. There is no need to constrain employees with security limitations and myths on productivity.
Freedom without compromise
A lot of organizations believed – and some still do – that they have to compromise employee freedom in order to protect their data, intelligence and networks. They didn’t believe in the co-existence of both choice and security. But this is what we at VMware have been delivering for years with Workspace ONE.
While some organizations rely on a line-of-sight management style and believe their employees won’t stay on task while working remotely, we’ve learned the opposite to be true*. And for many, the work-life balance has not been easy to negotiate. 59% of respondents in an EMEA survey feel pressure to be online outside of regular working hours.
Remote working for the most part is here to stay and research has shown that its benefits strongly outweigh any disadvantages. But there is work that needs to be done.
I believe 2021 will see a focus on employee morale along with employee inclusiveness and engagement. Last year was about the logistics of becoming ‘anywhere organizations’. This year will be about extending company culture to anywhere and everywhere. Analytics will play a big role in this. The companies that will succeed in attracting the new, top talent are the ones that will take the time to understand how to help employees feel they are being included, that they belong, and are welcome to actively participate.
Collaborating to create the future of the workforce
There doesn’t seem to be a one-size-fits-all work approach to 2021. Some companies have made the decision to permanently remain working remotely. Some expect to fully go back to the way it was. But the majority will use a hybrid model by offering employees a choice and so we will see continued investment in the digital workspace.
Hybrid organizations will want to take full advantage of better understanding their workspace, and we at VMware have done quite a bit of innovation in this field. We recently launched Workspace ONE Campus, an add-on solution for existing Workspace ONE customers. Campus helps customers understand the flow of people in the office, the allocation of workspace, of desks, and the proximity of the employees inside the offices. This will provide the analytics to understand how to respond, remediate and contain a Covid-19 case, for example.
Even before 2020, we saw that the battle for top talent and young graduates was being won through a strong collaboration among HR and IT departments. Especially in 2020, our very first experience as potential employees starts with digital technologies: the zoom interview. This is followed by digitally signing the contract, a configured laptop making its way to our home and videoconferencing as our primary mode of communication. If these things aren’t fast and fluid, that says a lot about the organization. HR and IT have to come together and design processes together from the first interview all the way to the exit interview. These experiences matter greatly and affect perceptions of potential employees looking at scoring sites such as Glassdoor.
At VMware, we very much care about our Glassdoor scores and the feedback that employees leave. We take what’s said into account when assessing ourselves.
The agility of the region
One of the most interesting features of our Middle East region is that we have very agile organizations. We see globally high rates of adoption of new technologies and solutions, and not just during the pandemic.
The ambitious vision plans put forth by governments in the GCC require speed and innovation to see them become a reality. The transformation that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has undergone in the last 2 years would have taken tens of years elsewhere. This is a dynamic region, and one where technology is at the forefront. So it’s not surprising that the pandemic triggered a massive acceleration of digital transformation.
One of our telco customers deployed our VMware Workspace One Intelligence as soon as it was launched. We’ve seen customers in every sector – from banking to healthcare to the public sector – move without hesitation to implement new products and services.
The sector that has been the most transformed during the pandemic is of course education.
Most education institutions now have a digital learning platform that they probably didn’t even imagine 10 months ago. We helped a customer rethink and revolutionize their education platform and all the processes that go with that to migrate from traditional, in-classroom teaching to digital, distance learning. In a matter of weeks, we were able to ensure that their teachers and staff were able to easily and seamlessly connect remotely and deliver learning content and education services to students without disruption.
The adaptation and acceleration we saw could not have occurred without the technological willingness that defines the region.
Here we are now, emerging from a pandemic, having experienced the future of work and ready. Certainly the Millennials are happy!
Learn more about how to implement and manage an anywhere workforce in the eBook.