The pandemic has made 2020 a much different year to most others for so many of us, isolating us from our family and friends, as well as completely altering how we go about our daily lives.
A sharp rise in working from home has been a defining characteristic of the year for many, with some industries also hinting at a longer-term commitment to allowing workers to have more autonomy over their working conditions.
Although the transition for some sectors has been fairly comfortable, it has been a struggle for people working in certain departments – and IT is a notable example of this.
Why is IT affected so much?
- Hardware: Although many companies are able to offer their employees laptop computers and other peripherals, if workers previously operated on PCs, it is difficult to transport these machines into employees’ homes and set them up effectively. As a result, employees may be forced to work on personal computers, which may not be suited to the tasks at hand.
- Software: The huge and sudden rise in videoconferencing for meetings large and small is likely to have put a significant strain on platforms, while employees relying on their home Wi-Fi makes for uncertain working conditions, compared to the office environment.
- Troubleshooting: Without getting your hands on the ill machine in question, diagnosing employees’ IT concerns can prove mightily difficult. Doing this over a video call, while relying on the end user to take the necessary steps, has led to convoluted processes and greater strains on time-management.
- Security: As previously discussed, home networks and hardware may now be relied upon to maintain efficiency and output. If these become compromised, it can prove much more difficult to quell security threats remotely on devices not connected to company networks.
What do the pros think?
Printing company instantprint, who supply roller banners and other printed marketing products, found in a survey that missing colleagues was the greatest concern arising from working from home among IT professionals.
Almost half of those polled (43.4%) said the people was the thing they missed most from work. This is little surprise as IT professionals deal with their employees’ problems on a day-to-day basis, making it a more social role than some may realise.
Productivity is also a factor when out of the workplace, and almost 65% of respondents said that their production had not been helped by working from home – with remote access likely key.
The new normal
We are now living in hope that 2021 will start with life beginning to go back to something resembling what we used to call “normal”.
While that will mean returning to the workplace for plenty of those who have been confined to their homes, many may follow the lead of major companies in extending homeworking for some time to come.
That will mean an increased need for agility among IT departments, but the lessons of the pandemic can hopefully keep productivity at high levels.