Nobody was able to prepare for the COVID-19 crisis and the mass working from home that followed. Including IT managers. Yet this stormy transition went remarkably smoothly. In a previous Yorizon survey of end users, we had already seen that 67% of homeworkers were satisfied or very satisfied with the possibilities for working from home, while 43% had rarely or never worked from home before the crisis. But what do IT managers think about the transition to mass homeworking? To find out, Yorizon asked 110 IT managers about their experiences with mass homeworking during the corona crisis.
In general, IT managers are very satisfied with the way things are going. No less than 91% is satisfied or very satisfied with the functioning of the IT department in the current situation. In addition, 84% is satisfied or very satisfied with the service desk and 83% with the extent to which the IT infrastructure is suitable for working from home. The possibilities offered by IT to collaborate at home (86%) and to communicate with customers and suppliers (73%) also score high. People are less positive (65%) about the IT skills of end users, but even that is not a bad score. In general, we can therefore say that most organizations have weathered the storm well from an IT perspective. This can also be seen from the open remarks in the survey:
“There are no more incidents than normal. Working from home instead of the office fulfills the purpose.”
“You can do anything from home, just do it!”
“I’m very pleased that it’s possible for almost the entire company to work from home and that people are additionally very productive.”
“Everyone can ‘just’ do their thing and our service to customers is still at a very high level.”
“Corona is showing that working from home is no problem at all”.
If we specifically zoom in on the technology, we see that most managers are satisfied or very satisfied with the available hardware (76%) and software (86%). Only 11% is critical of the available hardware, and scarcely 4% is dissatisfied with the software. One participant says: “On-premise availability is exceeding expectations. I was envisioning some problems with this, now that everyone has to work from home all of a sudden.” The company networks are also functioning well. Only 5% is critical of access to the organization’s network, while 82% is satisfied or very satisfied. A quote: “I am positively surprised by the speed with which almost all employees, including office staff, are able to do their work from home. They have access to the network and can collaborate with colleagues, suppliers, and customers. Business as usual, apparently.”
A significant proportion of IT managers indicate that they are not currently experiencing any significant issues. The technical difficulties mentioned often have to do with bandwidth, the connections at home, outdated software, or interaction with customers’ software. In addition to technical challenges, many IT managers also mention issues in the area of human interaction. End users who are attached to working on paper are having a hard time now. But there are also signals from colleagues who are experiencing problems with concentration or motivation, or are just fed up working at home. The introduction of new colleagues is a challenge, as is controlling the proliferation of initiatives. Lastly, some IT managers mention uncertainty about the future. It’s difficult to make plans if you don’t know which projects can go ahead or when backlogs can be cleared.
Concerns about the future
IT managers’ concerns about technology are limited. The technical concerns mentioned relate to phishing, synchronization, continuity of applications, and Internet connections, but actually the IT managers do not foresee any major problems in this area for the time being. However, some of the IT managers are concerned about the financial health of the company or the available IT budget. But IT managers are most concerned about the human factor. Are colleagues holding up? Can we continue to communicate efficiently and is this situation not detrimental to collaboration? Certainly, if it lasts longer, the decline in social cohesion seems to be the greatest challenge.
Together we’re going to make it
Despite uncertainty about the future, most IT managers are positive. Many IT managers are particularly optimistic about a feeling of unity. They are very enthusiastic about the flexibility of their colleagues and their willingness to work together. A quote: “Employees know how to connect with each other. Collaboration is going very well. The facilities are fine.” Apparently, the IT infrastructure is largely able to cope with the lack of physical contact. But the mentality of the employees also plays an important role here. One participant had this to say: “Work progress is unhampered. We have experienced great collegiality and willingness to go the extra mile.” What’s more, people who are still working in the office are managing to connect well with the people working at home. A quote: “There is a high degree of unity within the teams on location and at home.” The IT managers questioned in this survey show confidence in both the technology and in their colleagues. “There is no other way forward but together”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, when addressing the World Health Assembly. This statement certainly applies to IT managers and their organizations.