As we head into 2022, work will no longer be distinguished by where an employee (or student) is working or learning from. Work from wherever, on whatever device, will simply be “work.” This paradigm shift on the future of work has ripple effects for employees, students, and IT departments across every industry around the globe.
The pandemic forced businesses around the world to adopt remote work solutions – and, ultimately, the access to remote work has forever changed the hearts and minds of employees who now realize that working from anywhere is a priority. There’s no going back. People want flexible work and organizations around the globe are delivering.
Here are six predictions about the future of work in 2022:
Flexibility dominates with employees calling the shots: While 2021 may have been the “Year of the Great Resignation,” 2022 will be the year that all kinds of organizations – from educational to high-tech companies – offer increased flexibility to their employees to retain valued team members and improve loyalty. And employees will continue to demand accommodations to work from anywhere, on the device or technology of their choice and in a way that works for the employee or student and their families.
CIOs shift to remote-first mindset: CIOs will embrace a remote-first mindset to navigate the new way of work for employees and to offset the accelerating IT staff shortage. IT staff can now work from anywhere without any geographical limitations. And, with the right tools for unattended remote support, IT administrators can use permissions and detailed security protocols to resolve employees’ remote access and other technical issues without them even being present.
Ransomware targets SMB: Cyber criminals identify the weakest link in attack vectors and pounce. While large enterprises, hospitals and government agencies have historically been prime targets for ransomware attacks, SMBs will be a heightened target due to unpatched VPNs and weak user authentication of remote desktop protocol (RDP). Cybercriminals will exploit weak password security and VPN vulnerabilities to access the network, steal information and data, and inject ransomware.
VPNs phase out: Gartner has estimated that by 2023, up to 60% of enterprises will phase out VPNs in favor of a different architecture – Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). As organizations continue to recognize the inherent risks and performance shortcomings of VPNs for their flexible workforce, they will begin to adopt modern remote solutions with built-in security like single sign on (SSO) and multi factor authentication (MFA), which follow a zero trust approach.
AR takes flight: Many companies have been piloting augmented reality (AR) for IT support. In 2022, AR will move beyond the pilot-phase and take off as a core technology for supporting operational technology (OT) and the Internet of Things (IoT) markets. AR will increasingly become a part of the overall IT support function for diagnosing and resolving customer issues – and customers will increasingly expect this as part of any remote support.
Technology accelerates equity in education: Access to learning is important for accessibility and diversity and to address the “digital divide” in education. Regardless of geography, socioeconomic status remote learning will accelerate new educational possibilities for students of any age to learn from wherever they want, any time, on whatever device they have while accessing all the same resources as if they were on campus including resource-intensive computer labs.
The past two years have changed the way we work forever. As we move into the New Year and beyond, IT’s drive to standardize remote work/school or a blended work/learn-from-home/in-office-school environment will be viewed simply as standardizing how people work from wherever they are on whatever device they chose.
Whether a person is remote or in the office, the way they log in, access files, perform their tasks, collaborate, and receive support will be the same. Companies will no longer distinguish between remote and in-office workers – they will all simply be productive employees/students who enjoy a flexible work environment.