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Why a Distributed Workforce will Raise Productivity

While most senior executives at progressive organizations have already evolved their human resource policies to accommodate employee desire for flexible working models, others still resist change. Unfortunately, many of the laggards are now experiencing the "Great Resignation" phenomenon.

The global pandemic required business leaders to rethink when, where, and how their knowledge workers and front-line employees perform their work. Yet even with the ongoing pandemic recovery slowly underway, some organizations are still trying to determine their workforce approach.

According to the latest worldwide market study and recent survey data from International Data Corporation (IDC), stability and geography will likely define the balance of future work strategies.

Distributed Workforce Market Development

On a global basis, physical office sites are expected to be the dominant location for work as legacy organizations eventually find themselves in a more stable environment. However, the mix of office-based, remote working, non-office, and field workers is expected to vary from region to region.

Asia-Pacific workers, for example, are more likely to claim the physical office space as a primary work location compared to the United States and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

In EMEA, 27 percent of survey respondents prefer remote or work-from-home as their primary work location. Meanwhile, the share of the U.S. workforce currently working remotely (44 percent) may decline, but field and non-office locations are still gaining favor as primary work locations.

"The ratio of support for hybrid work opportunities within and across geographies will no doubt continue to evolve. Work primarily within office facilities, while a dominant choice, will certainly be part of a hybrid mix that will flex to address new and unforeseen challenges to organizational, political, and social instability," said Holly Muscolino, vice president at IDC.

Another aspect of these evolving hybrid work strategies is the effort to achieve 'experience parity' – meaning, a comparable employee experience for a hybrid workforce by ensuring that most workers securely interact with corporate resources via a consistent experience and context across locations.

While the notion of experience parity has not yet been achieved by most organizations, nearly half the companies surveyed by IDC indicated that their hybrid work technologies, policies, and processes were "in progress" with most key resources available to remote employees with some lingering access or user experience issues.

According to the IDC assessment, U.S.-based organizations have made slightly more progress toward experience parity, but considerable work remains to be done. Regardless, they're leading this trend.

Outlook for Distributed Workforce Applications Growth

"Investment in digital and work transformation technologies align with organizational imperatives around improved business resilience and increased employee productivity," said Amy Loomis, research director at IDC.

Moreover, IDC analysts are also tracking a direct correlation between spending levels with stronger momentum toward achieving productive experience parity for hybrid workers while lower spending levels align with more limited or ad hoc approaches.

That said, I anticipate CIOs and CTOs will struggle in their quest to find and retain highly skilled business technology talent. The competition for outcome-oriented IT consultants and developers is fierce. Experience is required, as more line of business leaders accelerate their digital growth plans.

Meanwhile, organizations that have already embraced distributed workforce models are eager to adopt modern digital workspace solutions and securely apply online applications for a streamlined workflow -- thereby enhancing employee experience and increasing their productivity.

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