Today's workers expect greater flexibility from their employers and the benefits are measurable. However, the next wave of work is now necessary as IT teams must re-evaluate the tools they need to meet flexible work demands while balancing an increased and complex workload.
This is according to the February and March 2022 study completed by GoTo with Frost and Sullivan, which analysed the current flexible work environment and how it's impacting the planning and decision making of (SMBs).
The study showed that hybrid and remote work models can lead to more productivity and positive impacts on company culture, but can also often result in complexities for IT, especially when SMBs are lacking the right tools and resources.
In fact, 76% of respondents found that the workload of IT workers has increased due to the adoption of flexible work models, with 43% agreeing that IT jobs have become more difficult.
Two years after quickly adopting tools that made remote work possible, businesses are now evaluating service duplications within these tools and areas in which they can consolidate. The study found that 95% of companies have plans to consolidate their tools in 2022, with many already in the process of evaluation.
Another key finding was that leaders are prioritising IT needs more than ever to ensure their businesses operate effectively.
Senior leadership involvement in software purchasing is up 75% since the start of the pandemic. Over the last two years, demands have caused IT budgets to skyrocket.
In 2021, (vs 2020) IT budget increased in nearly 4 in 5 organisations. In 2022 (vs 2021) IT budget increased in 77% of companies and decreased in only 4%.
However, these budget increases cannot continue, particularly for SMBs, and businesses must optimise their tech stack. Leadership must continue to devote time and energy into standing up efficient and effective IT teams in order to ensure their company can successfully run from anywhere, the researchers state.
Additional survey findings include the following:
Employees demand hybrid work: Staff turnover is significantly lower in a hybrid model (22%) than in completely remote work models (43%) and work from office models (44%).
Hybrid means more productivity: 78% view hybrid/remote work as positively impacting employee productivity and 77% view it as having a very positive impact on company culture.
Flexibility is key: 16% of top management with a fully remote work policy would prefer to move to a hybrid model. Of the leaders with a work from the office policy, 23% would prefer a hybrid or fully remote model.
In office requirements are not needed: The majority (78%) of hybrid companies which have guidelines on how many days in the office are required (an average of 2.7 days per week) nets out to about the same as those without mandatory days in the office (2.5 days per week).
Making IT work: IT department workload increased 76% in 2021 versus 2020 and the main reasons were more challenges related to flexible work (49%), more tasks to perform (44%), increased pressure (41%), and software underperforming/wrong tools (31%).
GoTo chief product and technology officer Paddy Srinivasan says, "Small and midsize businesses have been lacking a simple, scalable and achievable solution for the hybrid and remote working world in which we now live, but as data tells us time and time again, businesses can't run without the right people and tools in place to enable their organisation to work productively from anywhere.
"GoTo's dedication to bringing enterprise-grade technology to SMBs, which combines unified communications and support solutions in one affordable application, is a direct response to listening to the needs of our SMB customers. We want to partner with SMBs to create a truly sustainable, resilient, and future-proof work from anywhere strategy through great technology."