How identity can unlock the future of hybrid work in Europe

In the two years since the pandemic transformed the way we work forever, the long-term impacts on businesses are only just materialising. In my session at our recent Oktane22 event, I explored the challenges of moving from continuity based remote working practices to a more resilient hybrid working model. Here are some key insights from my session:

Which key factors did organisations have to consider when starting this journey?

#1 Balancing security and employee experience

With cyber threats continuously on the rise, businesses have had to re-define their risk appetite. As more of their workforce moved from the habitual office environment to a remote setting where devices and networks were no longer under their control, the traditional perimeter or point security solutions were no longer valid.

As a result, they’ve had to re-evaluate their security capabilities to ensure the balance between security and employee experience is maintained. Therefore, it’s critical that they build a model that reduces risk.

#2 Embracing new work models in a digital-first world

Adapting to changes in the evolving business or macro-economic environment and supporting critical business imperatives and initiatives is crucial for success. To do this, some companies are navigating the economic downturn by revisiting or optimising their real estate and office strategy. Meanwhile, others are trying to understand the environmental impact of their work models and how they can support their ESG initiatives.

However, where some organisations struggle is aligning their work model to technology investments. While 52% of organisations expect more than 50% of their workforce to be hybrid, only 30% of all employees say the technology they use is productive and empowering.  This gap indicates that many organisations are on their way to accumulating technical debt and finding themselves with a workforce that is both underproductive and unengaged .

#3 Addressing the rising talent gap accelerated by the Great Resignation

According to IDCs Future of Work European Survey, in April of this year, the war for talent was all too real with the Great Resignation seeing at least 1 in 3 European employees switching jobs.

Considering this, how can organisations tackle cultural debt and better attract and retain talent? Research shows that 44% of EU Employees are more likely to prioritise health and wellbeing over work than before the pandemic. This suggests that organisations should be more open to  models that are conducive to work-life balance, facilitate collaboration, and improve the employee experience.

What defines a resilient work model?

A resilient foundation is one that is sustainable, scalable, and secure. And all this needs to be built into the people, processes and technology that drive the business. Why? Because the work environment is disparate today and the world is in constant flux with risks and threats continuously increasing. 

Businesses need work models that provide a secure and stable base that gives them room to adapt, to grow, be agile, and flexible in the face of change. By building and integrating resilience into people, processes, and technology, they are inherently designing consistency within this disparate environment.

But it’s not easy. Businesses must now balance the need to be productive, efficient, and manage costs on one end, all the while being accountable for risk, the wellbeing of their workforce and the environment on the other. It’s a big load to carry, but when done right it can create a lot of value for the business and its workforce.     

How can an identity-first approach help?

By taking an identity-first approach, organisations can future-proof their hybrid work model and drive their businesses forward in the following three areas:

  • Visibility: With a full 360 view of their digital ecosystem, organisations can easily control and manage which users are accessing what, irrespective of device, time, or location.
  • Automation: IT teams can work faster and prioritise their resources to ensure users get access to all the apps and tools they need, whenever and wherever they need them.
  • Security: With identity as the new perimeter, organisations stop cyberthreats at their source and protect both customers and employees without negatively impacting the digital experience.

As a result, organisations can significantly reduce cultural debt and provide more seamless and secure digital experiences. They can also break down silos in their processes with improved agility and efficiency, and create an integrated digital ecosystem while reducing technical debt.

For more insight on how Okta has helped customers embrace new hybrid work models at scale, creating  the desirable digital experiences that drive productivity, user experience, and business growth, stream Jessica’s keynote in full here.