With the pandemic receding (apparently), the question of where employees should work becomes even more pressing. Will they come back to the office? Stay away indefinitely? Opt for a hybrid formula? What can business leaders ask of their employees, especially in the era of the Great Resignation, the Great Reshuffle and quiet resignations? And how can they ensure that, as long as employees stay remote, they stay engaged and work stays safe and productive?
These are the questions that Ivanti, an IT and security software company that touts its ability to “make the Everywhere Workplace possible so people and organizations can thrive,” focuses on day-to-day tasks. Discussing why some business leaders might be hesitant to embrace remote working, Melissa Puls, CMO of Ivanti, said, “I think people are sort of opening files of their own work experiences from the past and trying to apply them to the next generation. And we’re now in a position where people have to let go of those old files and our ways of working and look at things from a very different angle. Which isn’t always easy to do.”
Puls says the new generation of workers sees the virtual workspace as the norm (she cites the example of one of her son’s friends, a recent college graduate, who has a closet of suits and ties which he wears for Zoom meetings to “watch the game” on screen, although he doesn’t expect to walk into an office in person – his video conferencing persona is what gives a professional first impression now) . They are willing to “watch the game” that was a past expectation, as they expect to be able to work remotely, and this flexibility is increasingly becoming a table stake for companies looking to retain top talent. . “I think there’s definitely a feeling that employees are in the driver’s seat, which is actually a really powerful and encouraging thing,” she says. “And the younger generation is contributing to that as well, in terms of expectations around the hybrid workplace and hybrid working.”
But it’s not just the younger generation of employees, says Puls. “People want to be masters of their own destiny – hence the rise of the gig economy. People want to be independent, do their own thing and stand up for something that concerns them, as opposed to the business as a whole. together,” Puls said. “Which, again, I think is a very healthy thing.”
However, the burden of these changes tends to fall more than on executives and HR managers, it is also the responsibility of IT and security teams, who are working double-duty to create and maintain the technological conditions that enable employees to work productively and securely from any device, anywhere in the world. Puls cites a recent survey which showed that only 29% of technology employees are likely to stay with their employers, with incredibly high attrition rates in the field. “Forty one percent said it was because of the high workload, challenges and stresses placed on IT organizations and security teams, because of the way the workforce and the workplace are fundamentally changing” , says Puls. She says the shift to remote working has in some cases put unsustainable pressure on tech workers, who are spread too thin due to the (admittedly noble) intent to “provide their employees with an amazing experience.”
Therefore, it is important for business leaders to assess the needs of the organization against the ability of IT and security teams to meet those needs while keeping everyone safe. Puls describes IT and security professionals as the “unsung heroes” of the remote working revolution, and says tech companies like Ivanti, which provide hyper-automated computing software, are “positioned to power to do something really meaningful, to help companies maintain their employee base.”
In addition to creating sustainable working conditions for IT and security professionals, companies need to rethink their culture. “Putting technology aside for a second, I believe in the idea that we all need to have a purpose, that we value all perspectives – and in creating an environment where people can perform at their best, no matter what. place they work from,” says Puls. “That includes where they go to work. And some people do a more efficient job getting up every day and going to the office, but others prefer a more flexible environment. We need to let people think and work outside the box!
Ivanti has responded to this challenge — to create a work culture that values diverse perspectives and honors individual choices about workplaces — by viewing work itself as the destination. “Our CEO, Jeff Abbott, works tirelessly to create an environment where Ivanti is a destination for people’s careers — people want to be part of that destination, they want to work here. To do this, you need to provide a great experience for employees from a technology perspective – with technology that breaks down barriers – but also a culture and environment in which they can perform at their best.
For Ivanti, the goal is not only to facilitate this positive work culture internally, but also for its customers. “What we’re doing is making sure people can use devices from anywhere, that they’re super safe, and that they have an amazing experience with their employer,” she says. “And it’s that simple, but so essential in terms of providing an employee experience that people want to be part of. This is a critical time for employers, and I think they get the message. And the good news for enterprise IT is that we can play a vital role in making that happen.”