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For business success, it is essential to treat knowledge workers better

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During the pandemic, Gartner analysts found that over half of the global knowledge workforce moved to their home offices. It was a radical change for those not used to working remotely. Many of the largest companies saw tremendous growth and performed better than expected despite the uncertainties and associated challenges.

Knowledge workers who have worked remotely for over two years won’t be able to give up their freedom of choice. They wouldn’t, and why should they? They live a richer, more balanced life thanks to fewer commutes and family time.

However, hybrid environments pose significant challenges for businesses. They need to be able to measure productivity, maintain the culture, and improve the digital experience. The first two are complex and time-consuming, but the third is possible with the right approach.

Shift to Outcome-Based Employment

Before the pandemic, routine employee interactions made it easy to gauge productivity. Businesses must now adapt to manage outcomes since the office can no longer facilitate these interactions.

Although it seems simple in theory, the problem is getting enough detail so employees can exchange feedback and frequently make course corrections. Although Google, Salesforce, Intel, and other companies claim to have solved the problem, I believe it is still a problem for all businesses, made worse by remote working. This issue must be discussed openly and honestly to find solutions that consider the new realities of remote workers.

Champion Social Interaction

Culture is another challenge. Spontaneous and random conversations among colleagues can often lead to camaraderie and new ideas. Although the “watercooler effect” is often exaggerated, casual conversations between colleagues can make business life much more difficult. Employees are less likely to trust each other and form bonds.

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We should respond by encouraging all efforts to arrange online social interactions, regardless of whether they are virtual happy hours or Slack channels. However, humans have an inborn need for physical interaction. This is a problem that sociology and behavioral science, as well as psychology, are working with.

Enhance The Digital Employee Experience

The solution to these problems may be found in an unlikely department–IT. It can begin with IT departments committed to creating a robust digital experience for employees (DEX). A laptop is an essential tool for knowledge workers at work or home. Employees are often relegated by their employers to contacting the IT department for issues that arise in hybrid or remote environments. This means they can’t communicate, collaborate, or work effectively in the interim.

This is unacceptable. This is unacceptable. Laptops must always work efficiently and without errors. When a problem does occur, it should be fixed quickly and without disrupting the user’s daily activities. According to 1E research, 34% of organizations claim they can support remote or hybrid work, even though this is possible.

Organizations must prioritize digital experience monitoring and analysis to better understand employees’ interactions with technology. Even companies with dedicated DEX teams often lack the metrics necessary to measure, quantify and improve the employee experience.

Employees must give feedback. However, this should be done in context and with the right timing. IT should ask employees if they are satisfied with the resolution to an issue. IT should first ask the employee if they are happy with the solution. If an employee frequently uses a tool, IT may consider them an expert and potential ally. Also, seek their opinions on performance, capabilities, and other alternatives. If an employee isn’t using a solution, even though others do, it could indicate another problem.

But measurements can only take you so far. Employees responsible for reporting on experiences often lack the resources and time to solve problems quickly. Employees expect issues to be resolved promptly, not later. Many IT tools don’t have real-time functionality. This leads to increased frustrations for employees and more IT work. Too many IT workers still rely on remote desktop connections. These can be disruptive, inefficient, and difficult to automate.

Some companies offer real-time diagnostics and even remediation solutions. These tools can be used to check all the laptops within an organization and quickly fix any issues. These automated, real-time tools exist today, but only 10% of organizations can self-heal their devices. Another study shows that endpoint devices in companies without self-healing capabilities report that one in four said unsafe applications at any time. We can’t expect to improve DEX until we move beyond screen sharing as a way to fix IT problems.

According to Forrester, organizations that prioritize DEX programs are 62% and 33% less likely to report higher employee retention rates and satisfaction. DEX maturity is a critical competitive advantage in a world where workers can work anywhere.

Brian Santiago

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