WFH Survival Kit: Why You Should Start Planning Your Hybrid Work Strategy

Photo by Halfpoint

Many companies around the world have begun accepting hybrid work as an option for employees, such as Microsoft, Spotify, Citigroup, and Adobe. Others, however, remain adamant about returning to the office full-time like before the COVID era. Gartner estimates that 51% of all knowledge workers, such as writers, accountants, engineers, etc., will work remotely by the end of 2021.

This begs the question; Is hybrid work here to stay, and what does it mean for our future?

Different Companies, Different Approaches

First off, hybrid work systems differ for each company. Some want at least 3–4 days of the week in the office, others less, or vary based on how many weeks can be spent at home in a year.

Perhaps the two primary reasons companies are hesitant or against hybrid work are due to productivity and trust. Although some will focus and work better at home, others may fall behind quickly as the days add up. There are those that are always punctual and getting things done, and others can be doing other things during work hours.

Many are burnt out from permanent WFH (read here), while others dislike working full time in the office. Hybrid work seeks to fulfill a balance between the two. Even with all this, many are still adamant about being able to have the option of flexibility, or else.

According to the Remote Work Report of 2021 by Gitlab, 1 in 3 workers would simply quit their current job and find somewhere else that offers hybrid work. 82% of the surveyed believe that remote work is the future of work. For employers, some reported increased productivity and efficiency (42% and 38%, respectively) as well.

Communication

Communication will be a crucial factor in the failure or success of hybrid work integration. From whether a company will allow its employees to set their own schedule to come in and flexibility of work hours, to the attendance of mandatory company meetings in person or through video call platforms, these are all scenarios that would come into play, which could end in either a disaster or improvements to workflows.

For those working at home, helping them get up to speed will be essential to prevent delays and issues while working on projects. For recommended apps on planning and communication, click here. Other aspects include adjustments to the physical workplace to accommodate for less overall traffic in and out of the premises and strengthening of digitized communications.

Security

A significant role aspect of hybrid work now and will continue to be in the years to come. Back in 2020, Gartner found that zero-trust network systems for remote access users only came in at 5%, while estimates are at least 40% in the next 3 years.

The United States Department of Defense has experienced workers using workaround solutions that are security holes that can easily invite hackers and other threats. As a result, like many other firms in the private sector, they have begun looking into zero-trust solutions. A virtual private network has been a method many have sought, but with less-than-stellar results due to challenges such as productivity reduction and performance hindrances. Not being able to provide a secure working environment and security flaws with the lack of policy controls available are also downsides to VPN.

Adaptive visibility that can protect and modify access is needed, explains Anurag Kahol, founder and CTO of Bitglass. Being able to have a zero-trust infrastructure with high customizability is especially important for those working from home, and even more so for hybrid scenarios. Here at Puffin, we offer industry-leading products that are specifically catered to not only WFH individuals but corporations that seek to embrace the hybrid work strategy for their path going forward. From Puffin Browser to Puffin Cloud Isolation utilizing the latest in Remote Browser Isolation technology, we provide the all-in-one solution to permanent and hybrid WFH scenarios through the Puffin 365 plan.

Photo by Kritchanon

A New Reality

In the words of senior research director of Gartner, Ranjit Atwal, he believes that “…A hybrid workforce is the future of the work, with both remote and on-site part of the same solution to optimize employers’ workforce needs.” With private as well as public sectors going towards this path, it is an inevitable change already in motion. Whether the company you work at decides to do so or not, being aware of its importance and preparation for the time comes will be beneficial. The way we communicate has changed since the telephone and the internet and now will undergo further progression in this new era. Security is arguably the most crucial aspect of these points, as it should be a priority to protect confidential assets for employees to conduct work functions safely. The future has arrived.

Extended Reading:

https://about.gitlab.com/remote-work-report/

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/productivity-tips-for-hybrid-work/

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/adobe-announces-permanent-shift-to-hybrid-work-for-its-employees/

https://www.techrepublic.com/article/gartner-51-of-global-knowledge-workers-will-be-remote-by-the-end-of-2021/

https://insights.dice.com/2021/04/28/dod-study-shows-why-wfh-and-hybrid-work-remains-difficult/

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/great-return-office-experiment-wtf-happens-when-dont-wfh/1718085

https://technative.io/is-your-current-cybersecurity-strategy-right-for-a-new-hybrid-workforce/

https://www.welivesecurity.com/2021/08/05/why-cloud-security-key-unlocking-value-hybrid-working/

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