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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

Hybrid Work: Perfect for Employees but a Challenge to the Help Desk

The pandemic may represent a period in time that everybody wants to forget but, there have been some positive things to come out of it. Like the shift from the traditional working model to the hybrid model.

At the height of the pandemic, people had to stop going to work to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. This left businesses with two options. Adapt or die. And that’s how the hybrid work model was born.

Hybrid work offered a flexible way for employees to split their time between working from home and working from the office. And while it may have started with the sole purpose of decongesting office spaces, as time went by, the benefits of hybrid work became apparent resulting in many businesses adopting it as a normal work model. According to a recent study, 77% of businesses have decided to go hybrid.

For most employees, this is the perfect working arrangement. Instead of following a rigid work schedule, they can work when they are most productive which has consequently led to a better work-life balance.

For businesses, hybrid work has helped save costs in terms of renting office space and also allowed them to broaden their talent pool. They can hire workers from any part of the world.

The problem with hybrid work

The transition has not been without its downsides. And the help desk and support department has been among those to bear the blunt end of this new work model.

According to a recent study dubbed Work from anywhere survey by CATO Networks, more than three-quarters of IT professionals interviewed admitted to spending more time supporting the remote workforce since the pandemic outbreak.

47% of participants experienced an increase of at least 25%, and 16% of participants suffered from an increase of over 50%. The reason for this is that the remote technology had to be deployed in a rush and thus failed to meet enterprise requirements. Guess who was left to compensate for the inadequacy? The help desk and support staff.

The first challenge that businesses had to deal with when it came to implementing hybrid work was how to ensure the security of the business infrastructure. And since, there wasn’t much time to ponder on the matter, many enterprises chose to rely on their existing and known security platforms in the form of centralized virtual private network (VPN) servers.

It’s therefore not surprising that one of the biggest challenges that support has had to deal with is connection instability and poor voice or video quality. Slow application response is another issue that the help desk has had to deal with and can be attributed to the backhauling of network traffic through VPN servers.

Almost half of the participants also admitted to not being able to provide the same level of security to remote workers as they do to office workers.

And as we look at how hybrid work is posing a challenge to the help desk, we can’t miss the big picture where it’s also affecting productivity. The network instability and slow application response all translate to lost time. Time that could have been utilised to meet company goals and deadlines.

This is why businesses transitioning into a hybrid model need a very well-laid-out plan that addresses challenges that they are bound to encounter.

As Eyal Webber-Zvik, vice-president of product marketing at Cato Networks puts it, “Moving to a hybrid working model is a bigger problem than just scaling remote access infrastructure. And if not done correctly, as we have seen from the survey responses, it can be damaging to productivity.”


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