Last week, I spent two days and thousands of miles driving cross-country to a soccer tournament on the east coast. While my son and his teammate dozed in the backseat, I was up front with another soccer dad talking about business, IT, and how both had changed during the pandemic.

My co-pilot (whom I’ll call Jay) is a security director at a major insurance company. Like many businesses these days, they are having a tough time hiring qualified personnel. One of their biggest struggles has been finding people willing to relocate to Chicago. Jay’s family lives in here in Springfield, about three hours south of Chicago, but before the pandemic, he used to live weekdays in an apartment in the Chicago suburbs and take a train downtown, since his company required all workers to be on-site.

Then COVID happened.

Jay and his co-workers were sent home and forbidden to work from the office. Like the rest of the world, he settled into a rhythm and learned to use tools like Zoom, Slack, and Teams to stay productive. He eventually gave up his apartment in Chicago and was able to spend more time at home with his family in Springfield. The work got done, and they even rolled out major infrastructure changes while everyone was working remote. But now, with the pandemic on the wane, he would like the flexibility to split his time working remotely or from the office. In short, Jay, and some of the people he is trying to hire, want the best of both worlds: a hybrid workplace.

As it turns out, Jay is not alone. According to a survey of over 9000 global workers by the strategic consulting firm Accenture, 83 percent of employees prefer a hybrid work model. Reasons vary, but many respondents found that this flexible work arrangement improved productivity, physical/mental health, and the bottom line. Time formerly spent sitting in traffic or a crowded subway car could now be devoted to video calls or customer correspondence.

Personal and organizational impact aside, the shift toward hybrid working raises technical concerns. Whether working from home, shared offices, mobile sites, or third-party locations, hybrid working requires the right technology to keep people connected and data secure. To support this approach, many companies are having to shift their security and cloud strategies.

Remote employees accessing applications from the cloud can lead to increased complexity when printing/scanning/sharing digital documents. Security and end-user experience are two major challenges related to hybrid working. Adopting a Zero Trust security approach can help. As organizations move from a world of “trust anyone inside our secure fortress” to “never trust, always verify,” there is little difference between someone working remotely versus in the office… at least from a security perspective. The rise of cloud technology blurs the lines even more. A computing environment built to verify every user transaction, database call, and print request – regardless of where it originates – is inherently more secure than the locked-down data centers of old.

Cruising down the highway at extralegal speeds, I watched as Jay chatted with his technical and legal teams about vendor contracts and prospective employees. He looked up customer information in their corporate SAP system and made account notes as we travelled across the country. All from the comfort of his passenger seat thanks to stable, secure wireless networks and cloud technology. I didn’t see him do any printing, but if he had, LRS would have him covered.

Hybrid working is here to stay, as is the need to print, scan, and securely deliver business-critical documents. LRS will be hosting webinars on the topic of hybrid working, including real-life examples gleaned from our worldwide customer base. Click the links below to register for these events.

Modern Print and Scan for Hybrid Working Webinar ...

Click here to register for our May 11th webinar.

Click here to register for our May 12th webinar.

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