New research by Enterprise Strategy Group and co-sponsored by Liquidware highlighted some very interesting and, in some cases, unexpected trends about remote working.
One that particularly stood out was that almost half of respondents (47 per cent) said their organisation’s initial use of hosted desktops was driven by a Covid-19 work from home (WFH) mandate. During the past year I have witnessed many organisations’ lack of preparedness for enabling their employees to work remotely, in terms of providing effective digital workspaces. The research report, Digital Workspace Strategies in an Increasingly Remote World, will be publicly available soon. Here, I focus on what steps organisations should take to ensure that a WFH or work-from-anywhere (WFx) user experience is equal to, if not better than, their office digital workspace. This is especially pertinent moving forward, as many organisations are transforming to WFx.
With first-hand experience of transforming over six million Microsoft Windows desktops over many years, I have seen that users are often disrupted in their daily routine, with their IT equipment the source of their dissatisfaction. Sometimes this is totally warranted but, in my experience, change and disruption can lead to our staff feeling discombobulated. As a daily point of interaction, a user’s digital workspace can be a source of ire if it is not performing optimally for them.
So, in today’s very unusual working environments, how can we do our very best to ensure our users’ workspaces are not a source of consternation but a resource that works and enables them to do the best in their role? And what should we do to ensure they are connected, operational and productive?
This first step in this journey is for organisations to overcome their inherent distrust of how much time is spent actually working when users are WFH. My mantra is, and always has been, if you can measure something, you can manage it. Once you can manage it, you can extract the most value from it. Therefore, look at solutions that can monitor your users’ environment to ensure they are connected. Once you know they’re connected, you need to ensure they’re operational. If they’re operational, then you need to monitor their productivity. There are many solutions in the market that can provide this insight and, if you choose the right one, it can also provide you with data and analytics that should help you pre-empt issues before they arise. For example, if you can monitor the strength and distance of their wi-fi connectivity, and you see degradation in their service, you will know their productivity will lessen, as will their user satisfaction. You can then proactively alert your user to the situation and avoid potential downtime.
Next, you need to ensure that the digital workspace you’ve provided is suitable for your users’ new remote working environment. If you can inventory their current environment – device, apps used and login times – you can then ‘baseline’ what the new environment needs to be. In many cases, spinning up a cloud-based desktop is the most rapid solution. However, if a user doesn’t have their own ‘persona’ in this new environment – apps, printers and browser bookmarks – their productivity can be significantly reduced, if not eroded entirely. You must, therefore, have a user environment management solution that will automatically migrate your users’ personas to whatever new digital workspace you provide them. The cloud certainly helps organisations ‘burst scale’ in situations where a rapid deployment is required, but it still needs in-depth visibility and monitoring to ensure your users’ satisfaction levels are met.
Once you have put in place the new digital workspace for your WFx workers, monitoring it on an ongoing basis is paramount to maintain their user experience. An enterprise-grade solution will enable you to continue to ensure your users are connected, operational and productive – the three core elements to ensuring user satisfaction.
As remote working continues and staff also return to the office, businesses need to have the right tools to assess, design, deploy and monitor their digital workspaces. Make sure to ask your provider/supplier of choice if their recommendations can deliver user satisfaction as described in this article. It is our duty to deliver the right solutions to our staff that will provide a digital workspace user experience that is, essentially, like electricity – you turn the switch on and it just works!
Jason Mattox is the chief technology officer at Liquidware
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