IT investment is the key to reaping the benefits of hybrid working

The shift to hybrid and flexible working patterns has revolutionised the way small and medium sized businesses and employees think about productivity, company culture, and how to organise their operations to best support their needs. Research from GoTo, the flexible-work support and collaboration company, reveals that 70% of employees are unwilling to accept a job without the option to work flexibly, and companies are continuing to step up their investments to remain competitive.

The findings are published in GoTo’s latest report, Flex Appeal: The Work-From-Anywhere Future, which looks into the current flexible work environment and how it is impacting small and medium sized business decision-making. They are drawn from a survey of 1,000 key IT decision-makers across the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, India and Australia, conducted by Frost & Sullivan.

The report shows that IT department workloads increased 72% in 2021 versus 2020, with the main reasons being more challenges related to flexible working (49%), more tasks to perform (44%), increased pressure (41%), and software underperforming/wrong tools (31%). With many small and medium sized businesses pushing to increase their IT budgets significantly in 2022, now is the time for IT teams to reevaluate the tools they need to keep pace with the new realities of working from anywhere, while balancing an increased and complex workload.

Hybrid work is the way to go, but it is not without complexities:

The survey shows that hybrid and flexible work models can lead to more productivity and positive impacts on company culture. Still, it can also result in complexities for IT, especially when SMBs lack the right tools. 76% of respondents found that the workload of IT workers has increased due to flexible work models, with 43% agreeing that IT jobs have become more difficult. After two years of increased focus on tools to quickly make remote work possible, businesses are now evaluating service duplications within these tools and areas they can consolidate. The study found that 95% of companies plan to consolidate their tools in 2022, with many already under evaluation.

IT teams have more responsibilities and more scrutiny than ever before:

The study also shows that leaders are prioritising their IT needs more than ever to ensure their business operates effectively. Senior leadership involvement in software purchasing has increased 75% since the start of the pandemic. In 2021 there was a 73% increase in IT budgets and another 73% increase in 2022 to make hybrid systems run smoothly. Leadership must continue to devote time and energy to support IT organisations to ensure their company can successfully run from anywhere.

“Time and time again, we see that businesses struggle to work from anywhere without the right tools to support their people. In particular, small and medium-sized businesses have been lacking a simple and achievable solution for the hybrid and flexible world of work we now live in,” said Paddy Srinivasan, Chief Product & Technology Officer at GoTo. “Our dedication towards bringing enterprise-grade technology, unified communications and support solutions into one affordable application is a direct response to the needs of our SMB customers. We aim to partner with them to create a truly sustainable, resilient, and future-proof work from anywhere strategy through great technology.”

Additional findings

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 has a positive impact on company culture: 77% view hybrid/remote work as having a very positive impact on company culture.

In-office requirements are not needed: The majority (78%) of hybrid companies have guidelines on how many days in the office are required (an average of 2.7 days per week) which nets out to about the same as those without mandatory days in the office (2.5 days per week).

Flexibility is key: 20% of leaders with a remote work policy would prefer to move to a hybrid model. Of the leaders with a work from the office policy, 25% would prefer a hybrid or fully remote model.

The research uncovered 64% of employees believe their experience with technology impacts their morale, but only 20% of the C-Suite put budget toward improving the digital employee experience, and only 21% of IT leaders prioritize end user experience when selecting a tool.
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