2020 has been labelled many different things. Now, as lockdown restrictions ease and we look ahead to the future of work, perhaps the most pertinent description of the past year is ‘the world’s biggest remote working experiment’.

Remote working was an entirely foreign concept to many organisations and business leaders as recently as 14 months ago. Now, the majority of businesses globally look set to adopt permanent hybrid working – offering a blend of in-office remote and homeworking. Before March 2020, it was forecast that the shift to cloud would continue to accelerate over the next five years. Then, with little notice, organisations had to enable widespread homeworking for entire workforces. This put IT departments under immense pressure to ensure they could deliver the hardware, the bandwidth, and the knowledge in a way that was secure from cyber-attacks of increasing volume and sophistication.

Shifting strategy

During the course of the pandemic, short-term plans became indefinite shifts in strategy. Whilst there was a general slowdown in overall IT investment, a survey by IDC revealed spending resilience in areas such as cloud solutions, secure remote access, digital workspaces, data security, and videoconferencing. Now, organisations are reprioritising permanently to ensure they have the right devices and programmes in place to benefit the business, its people, its customers, and the environment. As a result, it’s time for the traditional workplace to step aside for a much more modern workspace. By adopting a work-from-anywhere ‘digital workplace’ model – one that’s not tied to any one geography, network or set of devices – organisations can thrive and become bigger and better than before. It’s the kind of digital transformation that quickly leads to a superior user experience, increased employee engagement and greater productivity. Some organisations are using the pandemic as an opportunity to review how they can harness the power of cloud services to create a more agile, secure IT environment, whilst benefitting broader business objectives and sustainability goals. Citrix digital workspace solutions are designed to help organisations do just that and empower them to securely deliver the apps and data people need to be as productive as possible – no matter where they work or which devices they use.

Meeting the needs of the modern workforce

When it comes to meeting the needs of the modern workforce, there’s a lot more at stake than simply delivering apps and data. The right digital workspace solution will unlock innovation and engagement, too. It’s less about providing options for remote workers or distributed teams, and more about ensuring employees have everything they need to do their best workday in and day out – regardless of location, device, or network. These virtualisation and cloud solutions not only allow companies to reimagine where and how work gets done, but also automate away the burden of repetitive tasks. Instead of getting bogged down by busy work and clunky technology, innovative workspace intelligence frees employees to focus on personal progress and purposeful work – whether they’re at the office, in the field or working from home. Citrix Workspace is a digital workspace solution that lets employees access company apps and data in one central platform. It provides a single interface where individuals can securely access all of their SaaS and web apps, corporate data and files, and virtual apps and desktops—and provides a high quality, consistent user experience regardless of the user’s device, location, or network. In addition to giving employees the ability to work from anywhere, Citrix Workspace simplifies IT by consolidating all management and monitoring activities into one central admin console. And because data is not stored on end user devices, companies can use Citrix Workspace to provide remote access without compromising security. Workloads are kept in a public or private cloud, a centralised data centre or a hybrid mix depending on what works best for the organisation.

Supporting sustainability efforts

Importantly, cloud-based digital workspace solutions have unique characteristics that support sustainability efforts. One of the few benefits of the consecutive lockdowns was the time to reflect and take note of the damage we are inadvertently causing the earth. The drastic reduction in air pollution and reappearance of wildlife in areas where it had long been absent highlighted the need for businesses to keep setting and achieving ambitious sustainability goals. Now, as the world slowly returns to normality, Citrix digital workspace solutions can help organisations be more sustainable.

  • Leveraging cloud infrastructure and digital workspace cloud services to host business resources maximises user density and intelligently load balances a large amount of demand across various organisations. The result is increased efficiency leading to less electricity consumption and therefore less GHG emissions.
  • Remote or flexible workstyles, powered by secure digital workspace solutions, enable employees and contractors to reduce the amount of time spent commuting to and from the office. These work models empower organisations to attract top talent outside their immediate regions and enable employees to take back time during the day. Additionally, everyone benefits from decreased emissions resulting from alleviating the daily commute.
  • Cloud data centre providers invest in renewable energy far in excess of national grid capacity. Therefore whilst more efficient than most on premise data centres, cloud data centres also generate in some cases as much as 70% less greenhouse gas emissions from less carbon intensity electricity consumption.
  • Digital workspaces have fewer performance and security dependencies tied to the physical laptop or mobile device from which they are accessed. Consequently, this enables unchallenged device choice meaning that energy efficient options can be selected without performance concerns. The same approach also enables IT to extend the life of an existing device, to leverage low-energy endpoints as the access points for digital workspaces.

As we enter a new reality, organisations can steal competitive advantage by empowering their employees with the culture, flexible workplace, and digital tools to do their best work wherever, whenever, and however work needs to get done. Having a cloud strategy to enable this future of work is an excellent way for IT teams to digitise their service delivery and management.

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