The pandemic has thrust the ‘unsung heroes’ of a business into the limelight like never before

Almost overnight, the office has become a digital space rather than a physical place, according to Keith Buckley, Managing Director and Area Vice President at Citrix Australia and New Zealand. Indeed, Citrix’s research shows that IT teams in Australia have risen to the challenge of swiftly enabling mass home-working. “The next task is to make this sustainable and effective for the long-term, while also beginning the mammoth job of reintroducing workers back to physical workplaces,” said Buckley.

“This huge rupture in the business landscape is likely to bring forward the emergence of a truly hybrid working environment. IT teams and business leaders must make sure this is as seamless, secure and adaptable as possible.” Indeed, the research found that almost three-quarters (70%) of Australian IT leaders believe that the rapid shift to working-from-home (due to COVID-19) has accelerated their organisations’ digital transformation.

Of these leaders, 44% believe that it has been accelerated by one year or more, according to the Citrix research conducted by Censuswide. The global survey of more than 3,700 IT leaders, 501 in Australia, reveals that businesses have been scrambling to meet the challenge of mass working-from-home and have been confronted with new security and performance concerns. However, with more than three-quarters (76%) of Australian IT decision-makers believing that employees will not want to return to office working, the pressure is on for businesses to rapidly establish a new model.

As government restrictions are eased and the world of work restarts, there is limited employee appetite to return to the previous model of office-based working.

Moreover, 71% of respondents agree that it has been surprisingly easy for the majority of the organisation to work from home, and 72% say that employee collaboration is equally effective through technology when compared to face-to-face. The study shows that IT teams are implementing technology to facilitate long-term home-working in a post-pandemic world. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, 63% of IT leaders agree their departments are considering downsizing physical IT infrastructure and transitioning to a cloud model. Additionally, 44% anticipate the introduction of digital workspace platforms and 45% are looking to public cloud services to facilitate long-term remote working.

The study also reveals that the road to mass working-from-home has not been entirely seamless.

Despite over two-thirds (70%) of employees already working from home at least one day a week, businesses have struggled to make the switch. Almost half (48%) did not have a business continuity plan based on the vast majority of the workforce being mandated to work from home, and 64% found it challenging to migrate their workforce to remote-working. This has taken a toll on IT teams: over three-quarters (80%) are experiencing high stress levels. “This crisis has thrust IT teams – often the ‘unsung heroes’ of a business – into the limelight like never before.

“It is clear that the reputation and visibility of the IT department has been transformed, as IT infrastructure and digital tools become critical to business continuity now and into the future,” said Buckley.

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