Many public sector employees look set to remain working from home for the long-term, as a result of the pandemic.
Public sector leaders reported that working from home was here to stay with almost half of those surveyed believing that 70% or more of their formerly office-based employees would be allowed to continue to work from home in some capacity.
Reasons given included “proof that working from home was more productive” and that it “allowed for a review of property use and the subsequent potential savings from reducing office space”.
Findings came from a survey questioning public sector leaders on the biggest challenges facing their UK IT teams during the pandemic.
The independent research was commissioned by IGEL, provider of the next-gen edge OS for cloud workspaces, and undertaken by market researchers Question & Retain.
Public sector challenges
Providing access to business-critical applications and suitable computing devices were the biggest initial challenges facing UK public sector IT teams (33%), as employees rushed to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic; while 28% said it was providing suitable mobile computing devices to their now remote workforce.
Other significant challenges included broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity issues at employees’ homes. These issues were just one of a number of support problems that resulted in 60% of IT teams reporting an increase in end-user support as employees worked remotely.
Of those, over a third saw up to 50% more end-user support requests, 6% up to 100% more, 12% up to 200% more and 6% up to 300% more support requests.
However, a third reported no noticeable change and 6% reported less support required than usual, likely to be as a result of furloughed staff.
Priority technology investment
Investments in cloud (29%) and hardware (26%) were predicted to see the biggest spend increases over the next 12 months as organisations adjusted their IT infrastructure to reflect the new working culture, followed by security (13%) and virtual desktop Infrastructure (10%).
Commenting on the research, IGEL’s regional sales manager for Scotland, Ken Dougan, said: “This research shows that public sector IT teams have been incredibly quick and versatile in adjusting to the requirements of the pandemic and successful in keeping vital public sector services operational.
“In less than a few months, work from home and remote working computing demands have gone beyond being simply desired, to becoming essential.”
Dougan added: “The priority moving forward is to establish a resilient IT infrastructure to support the significant proportion of the workforce that will continue operating remotely.
“Large distributed workforces and the resulting trend towards widespread cloud migration is transforming how the public sector manages and secures endpoints, fueling demand for virtual apps, desktops and cloud workspaces.”
Conclusions and considerations
For many organisations, the move to a distributed workforce was an understandably enormous initial jolt but as the workforce and systems settle to a new way of working, there will be time to consider the opportunities and benefits in the new approach to working.
As well as the technology needs of a distributed workforce, organisation and IT leaders can now consider the implications for their real estate. There may be opportunities to rationalise office space and make financial savings.
Public sector leaders will also need to consider the impact that working away from a centralised office will have on staff work patterns, and the different support they may need to provide users.
Facilitated by a flexible IT infrastructure
These opportunities can only be capitalised on with a robust flexible working IT infrastructure that can support these changes. A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and cloud workspace can be that solution.
It can be an effective migration pathway to leapfrog to the latest technology platforms and enable workforce flexibility with centralised management and increased levels of security.
Business continuity, remote working and workspace agility have become a critical business priority as organisations look to enable their workforce access to desktops, applications, and data from remote locations.
IGEL’s Work-From-Home Kit provides everything you need to deploy, manage, and secure IGEL OS to thousands of users, regardless of where they work.
VDI and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) enable organisations to rapidly deploy Windows desktops and business line applications in a consistent, secure and performant way.
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VDI and DaaS is helping organisations not just enable work from home strategies but enable employees to work from anywhere. Solutions from Citrix, VMware, Microsoft and Amazon offer both on-premises and cloud-delivered solutions.
While these solutions offer new ways to deploy desktops and applications, organisations still require a secure and easy way to manage the endpoints.
IGEL OS provides this solution; even enabling old devices and those beyond end of life support to be quickly and simply converted to IGEL endpoints, with all the security and management advantages it brings.
For an Executive Summary of the IGEL Public Sector Pulse Check research visit: https://www.igel.com/public-sector-distributed-workforce-executive-summary/
For further information about IGEL, visit http://www.igel.com/digitfyi