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By Sanjay Poonen, chief operating officer, customer operations, VMware

April 20, 2020

 

When I think about how my work has changed over the past few years, a few thoughts come to mind.

 

  • I remember joining meetings some years back on these complex and expensive telepresence systems that could accommodate only a handful of people in a room. Today, we have an array of video conferencing options that are easy to use and come with free options. And the three most famous words today are, “You’re on mute!”
  • Remote workers often felt like second-class citizens whose voices weren’t heard. Now, we are all remote workers with a common meeting experience.
  • I used to travel for days and hours to get to a meeting that lasted an hour or less. Nowadays, my commute is less than 60 seconds!

“Before the pandemic, we forgot that people are people first,” said Monica Kang, founder of InnovatorsBox, a workplace culture firm.* Our perspectives softened at the sight of children walking into Zoom meetings and personal background images—bookshelves, kitchen tables, a spouse or child at another desk. We realized that all employees are increasingly looking for meaning in work. They’re looking for more than a paycheck. They’re searching for a calling.  And not all roles are suited for remote work. The first responders and many roles in services industries, to name a few, need to operate in their work environments. 

On May 5 and 6, we will share our vision on how technology enables distributed work during a global virtual event: Leading Change: Build Trust with the Anywhere Workspace

 

Please join us to hear leaders discussing how organizations can embrace the new way of working and transform into secure, anywhere organizations.

 

Register Now

A Period of Learning Through Change

The lasting impact of this past year may be a better world of work. In fact, it accelerated changes that were already under way and highlighted areas that need improvement. Now, more people will have more flexibility over when, where and how they earn their living. The shift to a “hybrid” model of work, with some taking place in an office and some at home, is already forcing managers to become better communicators.

 

Remote work raises a vast array of issues and challenges for employees and employers. Among a host of other thorny questions, companies are pondering how best to:

 

  • Keep employees engaged.
  • Reaffirm company culture and values.
  • Boost morale and productivity.
  • Configure workspaces to enhance employee safety.

Employees are also trying to find the best home-work balance and equip themselves for working and collaborating with distributed teams.

 

The potential for remote work varies across geography and job roles, a reflection of the sector, occupation and activity mix. Our recent experience working remotely broke through cultural and technological barriers that prevented remote work in the past, setting in motion a structural shift in where work takes place, at least for some people.

 

For most companies, having employees work outside the office will require reinventing many processes and policies. Some forms of remote work are likely to persist and will require major changes, such as:

 

  • Investment in digital infrastructure.
  • Rethinking office space.
  • Structural transformation of cities, food services, commercial real estate and retail.

 

Consumer Simple, Enterprise Secure

While we all transitioned to remote working, it came with a myriad of security challenges, particularly with many employees using personal devices to exchange and share data. The vulnerable attack surface thus increases exponentially as organizations are faced with opening their firewalls through additional VPNs and loosening policies for unmanaged devices as a tradeoff to employee productivity. How do companies extend security profiles to endpoints which are now in new locations and on the corporate network?

 

Enterprises are moving from simply supporting remote work to becoming distributed, anywhere-organizations. Companies are rethinking where teams work, how they work and how they support customers from wherever they are. To be successful, this means investing in technology and a long-term strategy to be a stronger, more focused and more resilient organization.

 

A Modern Approach for a Modern Workforce

VMware believes that the way forward is through an Anywhere Workspace solution, which:

 

  • Builds trust for today’s distributed workforce.
  • Enables highly engaged employees.
  • Reduces silos, disparate tools and operational overhead.
  • Offers more effective security that follows users, data and apps.

VMware is in a unique position to provide an integrated solution to address these challenges holistically. When we bring together VMware’s innovative unified endpoint management, desktop and app virtualization, SASE or secure access service edge, and endpoint security technologies, we can help our customers meet their technology needs and help them successfully embrace the future of work.

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A New World

We are not going back to the world of work pre-2020. Working from anywhere is here to stay. Business travel will look a lot different. We will lead much healthier lifestyles and be more connected with our family, friends and communities. We are becoming much more empathetic to each other and to people around us. There is a strong connection between happiness at work and overall life satisfaction. Improving employee happiness could make a material difference to the billions of workers worldwide. It could also boost profitability and enhance organizational health. Let’s embrace this new world of work and make life better for all humanity.

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*The Economist. "The Rise of Working from Home." The Economist. April 10, 2021.