Employers have long dictated where and how people do their jobs. But today, millions of workers demand remote work options because they know they are more productive when they can work where they want. For businesses, flexible work styles can attract and retain the best talent from around the world. It is for these reasons that the digital employee experience (DEX) matters.

However, managing a distributed workforce presents challenges for IT—apps break, endpoints freeze, video calls lag, Wi-Fi quits, and employees get frustrated. IT teams struggle to keep up with demands and are limited by outdated technology-centric tools designed for a time when everyone worked in the office.

The work-from-anywhere (WFA) world requires employee-centric tools that are designed to deliver a friction-free remote work experience.

Technology Centric Management

Historically, IT teams took a technology-centric approach to managing desktops and other elements of their environments. So long as systems were running and adhering to security and compliance policies, that’s all that mattered. However, a technology-centric approach doesn’t consider the employee experience. For instance, a remote worker might have a brand-new, fully patched laptop, and all would be in good working order. But an approach like this doesn’t give IT visibility into home network configurations and latency issues, or problems with Wi-Fi and ISP connectivity that might inhibit people from getting their jobs done.

Employee Centric Management

Employees today desire a frictionless remote experience to work where, when, and how they want. They want applications that work simply and deliver a consumer-grade experience. They want technology to enable them to be productive instead of inhibiting their abilities. An employee-centric approach focuses on the DEX—a business directive that is purpose-driven to fulfill the needs of employees, while also giving the business the tools they need to attract and keep top talent.

DEX Management

IT needs to continue using technology-centric tools and add tools that are purpose-built for a distributed workforce to improve the DEX. They need to be able to see problems as they are happening, so they can quickly resolve them. These additional tools will provide the following benefits as well:

  • Proactive IT – The IT team will be able to continuously monitor the availability and performance of all critical resources. Through notification and self-healing, IT can fix issues as they happen and not after.
  • End-to-End Visibility – IT can bring together all relevant data affecting the DEX across physical and virtual desktops, applications, and unified communications.
  • Minimize Disruption – IT can remove technology issues in real time through intuitive dashboards, assisted troubleshooting and remediation, allowing employees to get back to what they want to do—work productively.

Let’s take a look at how DEX management would work at various layers of an employee’s actual experience.

Physical Endpoints

Most remote workers have a physical device, such as a laptop, which are typically two-to-four years old, with security and compliance managed by IT. Endpoint management focus on app delivery, security, and compliance but does not capture the user’s DEX with the device.

DEX management solutions should understand the employee experiences on endpoints no matter where they are. Experiential data can be used to help IT detect any issues impacting the employee’s expertise to improve or fix problems quickly, getting employees back to what they want to do. DEX management tools should automate reoccurring problems before creating helpdesk tickets, like alerting the user to get closer to the Wi-Fi router to increase the signal strength.

Virtual Desktops and DaaS

Used on a daily basis by millions, virtual apps and desktops give users as good an experience as they would have running local apps on a physical desktop, but with many benefits for IT teams, including app roll-out, end-user support, and security. However, due to the complexity of these environments, even minor issues with the shared infrastructure can immediately impact the DEX.

DEX management for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)  and Deskop-as-a-Service (DaaS) should bring together, in real time, all relevant performance and availability metrics for the user’s environment in a single place. This allows IT teams to easily correlate between the various components in the user’s technology stack and quickly find and fix issues.

SaaS and Web Applications

When SaaS apps and critical network resources are slow or unavailable, frustrations ensue. IT may not want to support employees who work off-hours, but people want to work when it’s most convenient for them. What’s needed is automated synthetic transaction testing to proactively alert IT and employees when the availability of SaaS and Web apps are impacted.

DEX management for SaaS apps should have detailed reporting, so IT can look back for trends that could affect the DEX in the future. For example, network resources might be slow or unavailable at the end of every quarter. This kind of experiential data can provide the information needed for IT to provision more resources for servers during peak load times.

Unified Communications

Today, unified communications (UC) tools are among the most mission-critical apps employees use. When employees have issues with these apps, work stops. But a remote employee often doesn’t know if the problem is with the service provider, home network, local device or just user error.

DEX management tools should provide a 360° view into the UC DEX. When something goes wrong, DEX management tools should know the source of the issue, fix it, then optimize UC-reliant peripherals, like misconfigured microphones and speakers, to ensure the UC is always running optimally.

The truth is some employees do not want to come back to the office. Furthermore, some of the best talent available is not even in the same geography. Given that the trend of the hybrid employee is likely to continue, organizations worldwide need to invest in and implement employee-centric tools that deliver a frictionless work experience with fewer headaches, lower costs, higher productivity, and happier people. To better understand if an organization is ready for this, IT teams should determine if they can fully support the WFA workforce and if they have the tools to improve the DEX for all workers. If they are not, it’s not too late to get what is needed to succeed.