Empowering Flexible Work

2024 Everywhere Work Report

“Flexibility” is the new rallying call for the Everywhere Work revolution. Knowledge workers want to be able to work anywhere and anytime — and they want to use high-performing technology that drives productivity. Can the CIO and CISO deliver?


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Over the last five years, employee expectations about the nature of work have changed profoundly — and are evolving still. Just a few years ago, the conversation was primarily focused on where people work (e.g., in the office or at home). The concept of Everywhere Work is now much broader, encompassing where, when and how professionals get their work done — and flexibility has become a key workplace priority.  

The vast majority of knowledge workers (80%) say flexible working is highly valuable, but just 25% say their jobs afford them high flexibility. This disconnect has weighty implications for employers.

For many professionals, workplace flexibility is non-negotiable — a bigger deal-breaker than working remotely, even. 

Employees want more control over the settings and circumstances of their work — their daily schedules, the ability to leave early and the flexibility to work from anywhere or everywhere. These concessions are not a “nice to have”; they’re an expectation and imperative for many high-value professionals. Are employers prepared to accommodate?

Knowledge workers — the people who power tech-driven innovation and growth and whose loss could have a substantial impact on your company — want equal treatment and recognition as professionals, regardless of where and when they work. They want to be judged based on output and performance, not hours behind a desk. (Though they largely do not want employers to monitor their productivity — two in three don’t find monitoring tools acceptable.)  

Your high-value talent wants options to work virtually, the ability to work a flexible schedule and the tools to do these things seamlessly.

There’s a clear business case for empowering Everywhere Work.

Employers that want to attract best-in-class talent — whether IT talent, data scientists, digital creatives or many others — must deliver on the Everywhere Work revolution. In addition to allowing hybrid work or flexible schedules, employers must also provide their employees with the tools, experiences and infrastructure to work seamlessly and securely — no matter the location.

Incongruously, IT professionals who power the Everywhere Work revolution are missing out on some of the benefits of remote, hybrid and flexible work. Eighty-five percent of IT workers say flexible working is highly valuable, but just 27% say their current job is highly flexible. When organizations don’t provide these capabilities to high-value talent, they risk higher levels of turnover and dissatisfaction among their employees — including hard-to-replace employees like IT professionals. Recruiting new IT talent is more challenging when the workplace is not flexible; 45% say they would not accept a new job offer if it required them to be in the office full-time.

Organizational leaders say they understand, but do they? Leaders surveyed largely believe that employees who can work remotely should do so. Just 15% say they prefer employees to work in the office full-time — a percentage that has steadily dwindled in the three years Ivanti has published this survey.

Yet leaders are out of touch regarding the technology their employees need to succeed in an Everywhere Work environment. Over 90% of leaders surveyed say employees have the tools to be productive in a remote or hybrid work environment, but employees say otherwise. Just 57% of office workers say they could easily access the same tools if they had to work remotely tomorrow.

In this report, we examine knowledge workers' desire for flexible work through the lens of IT and security — including the tools, strategy and even leadership vision that will make employees more productive and keep the organization secure.


The IT burden

The reality is that hybrid and remote work drive up IT workloads and — according to our research — fuel sky-high levels of burnout. AI and automation can help reduce the burden for IT teams who must shore up an increasingly complex tech infrastructure. 

Ivanti’s research clearly shows that flexible and remote working has a direct impact on IT workloads. Fifty-six percent of IT workers say helpdesk ticket volume is up — a finding consistent with previous years’ results — and most (78%) blame flexible/remote working for the upward trend. Some of the specific factors driving higher ticket volumes include software deployments, network reliability and security incidents.

All of this takes a serious toll on IT professionals. Nearly one in four IT professionals (23%) say a colleague has resigned due to burnout —– lower than last year’s finding but still unsustainable.  

To make matters worse, IT professionals also want to enjoy the freedom to work remotely, but for many, their current tools are unsuited for off-site work. Just 46% say it’s easy to access tech tools when working remotely. And IT teams struggle to collaborate with colleagues, be seen by managers and get tech support when they are out of the office. 

Can AI and automation come to the rescue? The overwhelming majority say AI and automation can help decrease ticket volume and provide better service. And yet, Ivanti’s research shows the use of time-saving AIs and automation solutions is uneven at best.

Fully 66% of IT workers say they use publicly available generative AI tools like ChatGPT, but oversight of these tools is often missing or incomplete. Nearly one in three organizations has no documented strategy in place to address generative AI risks — a serious oversight, given that IT professionals work with sensitive data and systems. While individual tools like ChatGPT have relatively high levels of adoption, fewer workers are using enterprise tools purposely built for IT and security — solutions like predictive IT maintenance or AI-aided ticket resolution.

Why are adoption rates so low? The problem may relate to data. AI can’t deliver useful insights based on incomplete or inaccurate data — why train an AI on your knowledge base when you know most of your knowledge articles are out of date? And long-standing data silos also prevent organizations from deploying AI and automation at scale.


Securing Everywhere Work 

Organizations are negotiating a tricky balance: empowering employees to work anywhere and anytime while ensuring the enterprise is as safe as possible from rising cybersecurity threats.

When employees work outside of typical office locations and hours, they’re more likely to do things that introduce incremental risk — behaviors like using personal devices for work or accessing public charging docks. 

Balancing the needs and priorities of IT operations and cybersecurity is critical to empowering employees’ success, no matter their location. Yet this balancing act introduces tension:  

  • IT teams want to expand employees' access to tools and services that will make them more effective and productive — no matter where they work. 
  • Security teams want to constrain some of those activities — effectively putting barriers in place to secure the organization. 

To make matters worse, intractable data silos slow down critical IT operations and security processes, and they prevent organizations from adopting or fully leveraging game-changing technologies. More than half (52%) say security and IT data are siloed inside their organizations. Of those, 84% say silos have a negative impact on security, and 82% say silos drive down productivity.  

Breaking down these silos requires a closer alignment between the CIO and CISO roles; only then can organizations achieve significant improvements across a wide range of best practices — from aligning tech investments and sharing infrastructure to aiming for a single source of truth for both IT operations and security. 

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I often need to access customer data stored in another system. To get the information, I need to speak to someone who has access — which slows me down multiple times per day.


— IT worker on the impact of data silos


How CIOs and CISOs can adapt

Companies face tremendous technical, organizational and cultural barriers to supporting the workplace revolution already well underway. Can the CIO and CISO harmonize their priorities to drive innovation in the workplace, even while keeping the organization secure? 

Highly effective organizations must break down barriers between IT and security if they are to enable employees to work both productively and securely … anytime and anywhere. There is great urgency to get it done — and it requires forward progress on these three fronts: 

1. Align the priorities and interests of IT and security.

CIOs and CISOs must stop working at odds. The first step requires reaching a shared understanding of the organization's security risk tolerance — answering questions such as, “What additional risks are we willing to tolerate in exchange for empowering remote workers to be more independent and productive?” This stance will guide future decisions about workplace flexibility and remote working — and the manageable security tradeoffs of these choices. From this shared understanding, commit to: 

  • Get buy-in from other organizational leaders to ensure that new guidelines for CIO-CISO alignment conform with organization-wide risk management tolerance and strategic goals.  
  • Develop one- and three-year roadmaps that align the key priorities of the CIO and CISO with known business objectives. Be explicit about the concrete steps required to make substantial progress in breaking down silos and building effective integrations.
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If we can truly eliminate data silos, AI has the potential to be a singularity of information. It will significantly reduce workloads for IT personnel. They’ll no longer have to worry about responding to writing reports, looking for information, validating data and so on. The upside is staggering.

Robert Grazioli

Bob Grazioli
Chief Information Officer, Ivanti

2. Consider “flexibility” in Everywhere Work strategies. 

Survey employees in partnership with HR and the rest of the executive suite to understand knowledge workers’ attitudes and priorities about different modes of work (e.g., remote, hybrid, flexible). What issues are non-negotiable, and how do they affect different talent groups? Pay close attention to:  

  • Attitudes by role to understand how specific workforce decisions will impact critical employee groups (i.e., people who have an outsized impact on growth, innovation or other strategic factors).  
  • Defending against biases that may creep into decision-making. For example, the impact of rigid schedules on women — who, our data shows, prioritize flexibility much more so than men. (Fifty-five percent of women would not accept a rigid in-office job offer, compared to 44% of men.) 
  • How flexible working impacts the tech stack. For example, does your organization have solutions in place for end users and IT/security teams to enable productive hybrid work? 

Powering the informational layer, however, requires real-time access to data that is currently siloed and inaccessible — which is why eliminating silos is such a clear imperative. 

3. Gain a comprehensive view of your IT estate. 

It’s time to gain visibility into the entire ecosystem of infrastructure, devices and solutions — your IT estate. Managing and optimizing this complex asset requires a vast and constantly evolving data set, from an inventory of assets (e.g., hardware, software, devices, licenses) to an informational layer (e.g., maintenance schedules, device upgrade schedules, patch schedules and data permissions). 

With an inventory and informational layer‌, organizations can make decisions in real time and at scale. The implications are enormous:  

Drive up helpdesk throughput:  

  • Addressing issues before they register as problems, notifications, complaints, etc.  
  • Automating how tickets are routed — ensuring the right person gets the request the first time. 
  • Intercepting low-level queries using virtual support agents (VSAs).  

Improve security preparedness:  

  • Analyzing massive amounts of data generated by company networks to identify potential threats and reduce false positives.  
  • Using machine learning to improve threat detection over time.  
  • Prioritizing security tasks and focusing efforts on the most critical ones. 

Powering the informational layer, however, requires real-time access to data that is currently siloed and inaccessible — which is why eliminating silos is such a clear imperative.  



About the research 

Ivanti surveyed over 7,700 executive leaders, IT and cybersecurity professionals‌‌ and office workers in January 2024 to explore the deep challenges and opportunities employers face when they empower their employees to work everywhere — with no limitations on place and time.  

This study was administered by Ravn Research, and panelists were recruited by MSI Advanced Customer Insights. Survey results are unweighted. Further details by country are available by request. 

Thank you!

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