Managing the technological challenges of a distributed workforce

It’s not as if the pandemic introduced the remote work trend. In fact, I’ve worked remotely for most of my career. For more than two decades, teams have been connecting from cafes, airports and home offices. However, when the closures and confinements appeared at the beginning of 2020, things changed dramatically.

As a result, organizations had no choice but to quickly allow workers to connect remotely. In many cases, the transition to hybrid working arrangements had to be done in just a few days. In total, about 42% of all companies have adopted a more flexible framework for working from home, according to Zippiaand 31% have increased the use of telework, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As people now return to the office, it’s clear that the hybrid workplace is here to stay.

Distributed workplaces and the teams within them create new and formidable challenges for organizations, especially in the IT domain. Understanding network and performance issues on a whole new level is crucial. Slowdowns and service interruptions not only affect customers, but also undermine employee productivity. On both fronts, there is a growing intolerance for below-average performance.

Learn more: How Balancing IT and Business Concerns Can Transform the Customer Experience

Beyond the black box

The digital employee experience (DEX) for a hybrid workforce cannot be an afterthought. Functions such as finance, sales, marketing, IT, operations, and HR need to communicate and collaborate seamlessly. Virtual call centers and support teams require high quality connections. DEX must be integrated into the fabric of the organization. Too often, businesses find themselves with blind spots.

A hybrid workforce amplifies these issues. Instead of a handful of services residing within the four walls of the enterprise, hundreds, if not thousands, of potential tripwires exist on devices, software, APIs, and endpoints. For organizations looking to emerge as digital leaders, this lack of visibility can prove inconvenient and can undermine everything from brand reputation to business results. The task of IT is extremely difficult because today’s systems cover so many elements and components that a company does not control.

CPUs, memory, disk usage, and network performance provide highly realistic insights into the factors that undermine employee productivity and often trickle down to customers and business partners. Yet a system must also be able to identify issues across the internet, cloud, and SaaS services, all of which exist in a black box beyond the control of IT.

However, with the right policy framework and the right technology and the right tools in place, it is possible to bring this black box to light. Blind spots disappear. IT teams can identify where issues are popping up and the specific factors impacting DEX. Along with the ability to unleash enterprise productivity at scale, this in turn can help a company improve its supplier relationship management. The result is more enforceable service level agreements (SLAs) and better collaboration based on neutral third-party data.

An eye on performance

What does an effective observability environment look like? How can a company establish a framework of best practices? The starting point is to approach hybrid working modalities from the perspective that 24×7 real-time monitoring is not only a good idea but also mission critical. Employees must be able to use systems and applications everywhere that they are and whenever they need it. In their minds, who owns and operates the technology is irrelevant.

This more evolved state of surveillance revolves around full observability. There is a need to zoom in and understand performance in terms of what employees are actually experiencing at a given time and place. Since every situation is different and there are many factors that could affect a given employee, the lens should be able to zoom in and out as needed. A global synthetic network combined with visibility of all employee sites, data centers and remote locations is essential to being able to achieve this.

With a best practice observability and remediation framework in place, an organization eliminates the all-too-common problem of a dashboard flashing green while employees complain about performance issues resulting from undetectable latency, glitches configuration or something else.

Learn more: What is driving the evolution of enterprise technology management?

A holistic visibility strategy for the workforce experience provides an added benefit: the business is better equipped to set realistic IT performance goals based on metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter really. He can understand the specific conditions and factors that lead to a higher DEX and create a map to navigate to that higher plane.

Comprehensive device, enterprise, and public telemetry data, viewable in a single window, is at the center of a best-practice hybrid work environment. With this data, it is possible to build relationships with service providers based on transparency and trust. It’s possible to give employees the flexibility and performance they need when connecting from multiple and often changing endpoints during a typical workweek.

In the end, everyone wins. An organization is equipped to deliver peak performance at all times, employees can work in remote, office or hybrid environments seamlessly, and customer experience and satisfaction rates also increase. Organizations that adopt digital experience observability best practices attract and retain top talent and build brand reputation. It’s a winning formula for everyone.

How do you overcome the technological challenges of a distributed workforce and develop a framework to improve the digital employee experience? Share with us on Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.


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