Hybrid Remote Work – the Next Normal

work from home, hybrid remote work, covid-19, remote employee experience, coronavirus
Mike Marks July 30, 2020
During the past months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business world has grappled with the question of whether to or when to reopen offices. Many companies and analysts project a continued high level of remote work in the future, and the hybrid remote work model is gaining traction. This blog addresses the IT challenges associated with hybrid remote work and how Aternity data indicate a "remote work productivity tax," a reduction in overall employee productivity as a result of sustained long periods of working from home.

During the past months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business world has grappled with the question of whether to or when to reopen offices. Google announced remote work for its employees through July 2021. Other companies have publicly announced remote work options through the calendar year, or signaled a move to hybrid remote work models. But most companies have yet to determine their plans.

Proponents of hybrid remote work approaches believe that it enables companies to take advantage of the benefits of working from home AND working in the office. Employees value the option to work from home, especially when balancing child care or education responsibilities. At the same time, working in an office enables informal collaboration and can better support the company’s culture. Having a majority of a company’s executives in one office location can help with faster decision making, and also provides informal access to leadership for the employee base.

Hybrid remote work and the “remote work productivity tax”

However, others point out the challenges with hybrid remote work. Some fear that a dual approach sets up two populations of employees, each with a different employee experience. Communication processes that work for in-office employees don’t necessarily adapt well to include work from home employees. It’s difficult to patch someone in on Zoom when a spontaneous brainstorming session breaks out in the hallway or lunch room. Exposure to executives in the office leads naturally to familiarity, recognition, and deeper relationships, which can create advantages in career progression and opportunities.

Of course, how well countries and states manage public health is the primary factor affecting the decision of whether to return to the office, continue to work from home, or use hybrid remote work. But as companies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia reopen offices based on declining rates of infection, Aternity is starting to see data through our SaaS Digital Experience Management Platform that helps inform this decision-making.

When comparing the U.S. to other countries, there is evidence of a remote work productivity tax. In the U.S. and countries in Europe where the share of remote work remains extremely high, employee productivity continues to fall. At the same time, productivity is rising in European countries where the share of in-office work is accelerating and companies are moving toward more of a hybrid remote work model.

next normal; hybrid remote workAternity recently published Volume 5 of Global Remote Work Productivity Tracker to review the “next normal” and this potential remote work productivity tax issue. Volume 5 provides an update to data covered in Volume 1 and Volume 2: the share of remote work globally and its impact on productivity, as well as an examination of how the workday has shifted over the past three months.

The insights in this report are based on data aggregated from millions of employee devices at hundreds of global companies being managed via the SaaS-based Aternity Digital Experience Management Platform.

Get a preview of some the surprising insights in the report by viewing the SlideShare.

Managing the next normal: hybrid remote work in your environment

If you missed our recent webinar on managing the next normal, you can catch it on demand by registering here. The session covered some of the key points from Volume 5 of the Global Tracker, but also provided a demo of key digital experience management capabilities for managing hybrid remote work environments.

next normal; hybrid remote work

In the webinar demo, we covered the following three use cases.

1. Managing the remote employee experience

With employees working from home, business and IT leaders must address fundamental questions around whether the workforce has the right IT resources to get their jobs done. Does sufficient VPN capacity exist to handle the remote employee population? Do employees have laptops with sufficient resources and performance to do their jobs properly? To what extent does application performance vary from expected baselines when employees access those apps remotely?

remote workforce, remote employee experience
The Aternity Remote Workforce Executive Summary dashboard enables user to specify a date for their work from home directive, then shows 1) how users are connecting, 2) application performance, and 3) device health and performance over time.

If you’re interested in a deeper look at this questions, catch the on-demand webinar on the new KPIs to manage the remote work experience.

2. Taming collaboration app sprawl

Of course, companies have relied on collaboration apps extensively since the start of the mandatory stay at home period. Even as they implement hybrid remote work arrangements, collaboration app usage is expected to remain high. Aternity enables IT to manage the voice quality, video quality, and performance of leading collaboration apps like Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, Webex, Zoom, and Slack, all from a single console. Watch this short video to see more.

For additional information, watch the on-demand webinar on managing collaboration app sprawl.

3. Benchmarking your company’s digital employee experience against the market

With so much business uncertainty due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, CIOs are under pressure to reduce budgets and prioritize IT spend to where the payoff is greatest. Analyzing investment and cost saving options internally is a necessary first step, but it’s not sufficient. For better insights, CIOs can compare their company’s digital employee experience externally, to the hundreds of other companies managed by Aternity SaaS.

The Aternity Digital Experience Management Quadrant (DEM-Q®) enables companies to benchmark their digital experience to others, by industry, geography, or company size, on a two by two matrix of selectable digital experience KPIs. Once again, there’s an on-demand webinar on benchmarking, if you want to take a deeper look.

Answers to top questions from the webinar audience

Our lively audience asked many excellent questions. In addition to direct follow-up by our teams, we’ve included answers to the key questions asked during the session. If you’re a customer, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Aternity account or support team for more information.


Topic: Device Support

Question:  Can Aternity support VDI environments?

Answer: Yes. Aternity enables IT to monitor employee experience on any type of device – laptop, PC, VDI, or mobile. See our VDI/Desktop as a Service solution page for more info.

Question: Does Aternity support macOS? What about mobile OS?

Answer: Yes. For laptops and PCs, Aternity provides agents for both Windows and macOS. For mobile, Aternity supports both iOS and Android. Developers can use either the Aternity mobile SDK or mobile wrapper to compile Aternity end user experience monitoring with their code, prior to digitally signing the app and loading it to the enterprise app store.


Topic: Monitoring

Question: Does Aternity provide insight into the impact of home networking issues on end user experience?

Answer: Yes, by monitoring end user experience from the perspective of the employee’s device, Aternity has visibility into home networking issues, like latency, packet loss, jitter, throughput, and wired and Wi-Fi performance.

Question: Does Aternity provide Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring?

Answer: As a digital experience management vendor, Aternity provides visibility into the impact on user experience of IT performance, including client devices, applications, network, and cloud. If the cloud infrastructure is causing user experience problems, Aternity can identify it.


Topic: Licensing and Deployment

Question: Can Aternity be deployed on-premises as well as SaaS?

Answer: Yes, it can. The vast majority of our customers run on our fully certified, compliant SaaS platform. And our long-time on-premises customers are migrating to SaaS to take advantages of the many benefits of SaaS deployment. Learn more about our certifications, privacy, and availability policies on our Trust Center.

Question: How does Aternity licensing work?

Answer: Learn about Aternity’s flexible packaging and unified licensing in the How to Buy section of our website.

Get started with Aternity today!

Aternity Free TrialIf you’re not yet an Aternity customer, you can explore how we help you address the IT challenges of a remote workforce. You can get started today by registering for a free trial of Aternity running in your environment. You’ll see how your organization compares to the market with the benchmarking insights from millions of end points monitored in via Aternity SaaS. You’ll see how your Service Desk can drive down costs and improve service with AI-driven automated remediation. And you’ll get a view of employee experience for every app running in your environment – even SaaS and Shadow IT.

You can find all of the volumes of the Global Remote Work Productivity Tracker in our library of white papers.