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This Week in Remote Work - Dec. 18th Edition

December 18, 2020
By Robb Henshaw

Welcome to the last installment of This Week in Remote Work for 2020! We'll be taking the next two Friday's off, but we look forward to helping you summarize the week's top Remote Work articles each week again starting Friday, January 8th. Image for Cameyo blog post on the top 5 remote work articles of the week

With that, let's dig in:

1) Google Delays Return to Office and Eyes ‘Flexible Work Week’ (New York Times)

In the category of "not a surprise to anyone", Google became the latest of many large companies that have publicly announced that they are delaying plans to have employees return to the office until later in 2021. But what's interesting is that Google's announcement also outlined what the new normal of office life will look like once people do start returning:

Google has pushed back the planned return to the office by a few months, to September 2021.

But even as it extends the remote work period for most of its staff, Google is laying out a series of proposed changes that may substantially alter how its employees and people at other technology companies will work.

In an email to the staff on Sunday night, Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said the company was testing the idea of a “flexible workweek” once it is safe to return to the office. Under the pilot plan, employees would be expected to work at least three days a week in the office for “collaboration days” while working from home the other days.

Granted, a majority of companies are making similar plans - but we're starting to see these plans formalized into policy. Almost every analyst conversation we have has confirmed that all the organizations they speak with are planning a similar hybrid approach to remote work once people do start coming back to the office. I think it's safe at this point to state that the future of working will include a certain percentage of people working remotely 100% of the time with the rest going into the office 2-3 days a week for these "collaboration days" as needed. 

This is likely why the boom in Virtual App Delivery, DaaS, and virtual desktop technologies isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Even if people go into the office 3 times per week, they need to be able to maintain secure, simple access to all of the apps they need to be productive on the days they're not in the office. And rather than having one workflow in the office and another at home, Digital Workspaces enable you to give your people a seamless, unified workflow no matter where they are. 

2) 2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends Report (ITPro Today)

This is a really interesting recap of the top trends for 2021, as predicted by reporters across the Informa family of publications - including ITPro Today, Information Week, Dark Reading, Network Computing, and more. It's worth filling out the short form to download the whole report. They outline 15 key trends for 2021, and when it comes to the world of remote work, several are interesting:

  • DaaS
  • WFH Access and Security
  • Cloud Security
  • Remote and Endpoint Security

Chris Tozzi of ITPro Today does a great job with his overview of the Desktop as a service (DaaS) trend. And while noting the various drivers of DaaS' current growth, he also realistically calls out some of the barriers for DaaS adoption, too:

One key hindrance is that, even if you move your workers’ desktop environments into the cloud, they still need physical devices for accessing those desktops. Although an enterprise could request its employees make their personal machines available for installing the DaaS client, that presents a range of security and logistics headaches. Alternately, an enterprise can supply employees with devices for logging into its DaaS service. But then the IT staff still has physical hardware to purchase and maintain, thus perpetuating the management and budgetary challenges that come with them.

It's important to note that DaaS is just one of the technology approaches to delivering Digital Workspaces, with Virtual App Delivery being another (as well as traditional VDI). For a quick view of the real-world differences between Virtual App Delivery and DaaS, check out this post

3) As 2021 approaches, COVID-19 may be catalyzing the future of security (S&P Global)

The analysts at 451 Research (now part of S&P Global) break down the overall impact that COVID-19 is having on the future of security. This is a great article that digs into some of their recent data that shows how spending and IT focus is shifting as a result, too. 

Securing vastly expanded access means more than adapting to the realities of a global pandemic. In the long run, it will mean confronting the realities of the evolving nature of enterprise IT – not just millions of new remote endpoints, but also the proliferation of tens or hundreds of third-party IT services that substantially alter the nature of risk control for the business. Add to this the expected explosion in new types of endpoints and edge computing models, 5G and operational technologies, and the nature of enterprise security only a few years if not a few months hence begins to look very different...

Adapting the enterprise to remote work at scale meant that hundreds or thousands of home networks became extensions of the business, but not always with the same level of risk assurance that organizations have from the on-premises network. It often meant embracing third-party resources such as digital workspace, teleconferencing and collaboration technologies delivered from the cloud, and directly accessible to users without having to go through the enterprise network...

Security must adapt to the changing nature of enterprise IT. Coronavirus may be catalyzing the investment necessary to do so. It will take time – the need for far-reaching change is substantial – but as businesses emerge from the 'new abnormal' to a future hopefully changed for the better, we would hope for the landscape of security to be changed for the better as well.

This post perfectly sums up the security issues facing organizations across every sector. This is precisely why we talk so much about security here at Cameyo - why it's critical to select a Digital Workspace that views security as foundational, not something that can be layered on later. For more info on why security needs to be designed into the core of your remote work solutions, check out this post

4) The Invisible Impact of the Pandemic on Data Security: Why 2021 Will Be Different (NextGov)

In another article about the role that remote work has played in turning corporate data security on its head, this post does a good job of breaking down what needs to happen to protect data in an increasingly remote world. And you've got to appreciate how simple and direct the advice is:

In 2021 and beyond, cloud-native solutions that offer a deep understanding of user behavior must become the new normal.

We couldn't agree more. And here are our thoughts on reducing the attack surface for remote workers

5) How To Successfully Lead Teams Through Work-From-Home To Work-From-Anywhere (Forbes

Finally, I thought it made sense to close things out with an article about how we can think more deliberately about helping our people and teams thrive during the remote work era. 

According to a new study from Pew Research, more than half of people who have been able to work from home (WFH) during the pandemic do not want to return to the office full time once the pandemic is over. While many employees might not be returning to the office, they also won’t need to exclusively WFH once Covid-19 is under control. Business leaders need to think beyond WFH and prepare to lead teams that are working from anywhere (WFA).

This post, written by a career executive coach, highlights three key areas to consider when trying to lead in a remote world:

  • Boost Creativity
  • Clarify Expectations
  • Improve Communications

There are some good, simple, actionable tips in this article that any leader should think about as they work to truly enable productivity and happiness amongst their new "Work From Anywhere" (WFA) workforce. 

Thank you all for following along with us in 2020, and we can't wait to see you back in 2021. In the meantime, we wish you all very Happy Holidays!

Filed Under: Digital Workspaces, This Week in Remote Work