This summer, the U.S. Biden administration issued soft guidance to make flexible working conditions for its federal employees more acceptable post-pandemic. The British government then took it a step further with its recent open consultation proposing a reform of the flexible working regulations in England, Wales, and Scotland that would extend the right to request flexible work from some to all employees.
Are these recent legislative moves a forerunner of what’s to come for other countries in both the public and private sector, transitioning remote and flexible working from a temporary pandemic response to a normalized way of life?
Precedent-Setting Legislation for the Future of Flexible Work
At the height of the pandemic, nearly 60 percent of federal U.S. workers were working remotely – a drastic increase from 3 percent pre-pandemic. The result was that government agencies found they could still deliver on their mission needs while working from home.
Now, with Great Britain’s open consultation focused on long-term, flexible working policies, it’s clear that the perception of the workplace and office has shifted dramatically from previous generations that insisted peak employee productivity could only be achieved in the in-office environment.
These government entities represent significant percentages of each nations’ workforce. In the U.S., for example, the federal government is the country’s largest employer, with an estimated workforce volume of 2.1 million. Moreover, such sweeping change is likely to spread the globe, with industries across the private sector soon to follow this precedent.
Employees Demand New Accommodations for Remote Work
The past 21 months have been a learning curve for businesses. Still, in that time, we’ve seen many new developments leveraging new technology tools to enable more collaborative ways of working remotely.
Therefore, it is unsurprising that the experience has influenced unprecedented employee demands and expectations for the new working normal. For example, in a recent study by Accenture, 83% of workers surveyed said they prefer a hybrid work model — in which they can work remotely at least a quarter of the time.
As companies adapt to new ways of conducting business, it has shed light on the importance of improving employee satisfaction to counteract the effects of the Great Resignation. For example, in a recent study by Lenovo and Intel, 60% of IT decision-makers saw more than 10% improvement in their employee experience scores by focusing on improving employees’ satisfaction with technology.
Enabling New Flexible Working Models
For employers, enabling the transition to flexible/hybrid working models is a smart business move, but deploying and supporting the hardware infrastructure required can be costly and challenging.
One solution that is gaining traction is Device-as-a-Service (DaaS), which allows companies to offload device asset management to an IT partner to reduce the total cost of ownership for employee technology.
Most businesses (63%) surveyed in Lenovo’s Future of Work study are interested in DaaS subscription offerings to free up valuable time and resources for more strategic projects. Furthermore, 90% of IT decision-makers from large companies have expressed interest in deploying DaaS to support their new remote, hybrid working standard.
Implementing DaaS can support a business with a distributed workforce in multiple ways, including:
- Mitigating the costs of refreshing a fleet of personal computing devices for remote workers.
- Offering a holistic solution that allows broad flexibility to scale the hardware up or down over time based on their current business needs.
- Helping organizations avoid unnecessary costs related to energy efficiency, security, downtime, and workforce productivity, lowering the total cost of ownership
- Guaranteeing reliable, stable, and fully customized solutions that free up internal resources and keep employees connected and supported from any location.
- Supporting organizations’ sustainability goals by helping them to dispose of retired devices securely and environmentally responsibly.
New legislation and guidance around flexible work policies are only the beginning, with many in the private sector already implementing new business models to accommodate the shift.
As flexible and hybrid work becomes a standard expectation for the existing workforce, businesses will need to explore new technology solutions that ensure scalability, security, and productivity for their distributed workforce.
Device-as-a-Service is just one solution in the modern IT toolbox that can get them there.
Image Credit: Kate Sade; Unsplash; Thank you!