Bring your own environment (BYOE)

The pandemic shattered longstanding views about how work gets done—and from where. Healthcare was hit hard as organisations had to fortify the front lines while shifting some employees to remote work. Physical distance became a necessity, even for those delivering care in person. The industry responded immediately, standing up virtual collaboration and virtual care capabilities to meet demand that spiked overnight.

Healthcare entities invested in digital collaboration tools (55%) and remote monitoring capabilities to support their remote workforce during COVID-19. While these were a necessity at the time, now we can look at how new digital services and remote work can extend the healthcare organisation’s mission and respond to patient needs. We are moving into a new future where a large portion of work can be done from anywhere. Of course in healthcare, some work—such as surgical procedures—must be conducted in a clinical setting. However, there may be ways to increase productivity by having a dispersed workforce (remember, you can test it with a digital twin or empower them with democratised technologies).

No matter what the hybrid composition of the workforce, the technology implications will endure. Employees are bringing entire environments to work. While they may be on an employer’s laptop, that laptop is connected to a personal home network that also hosts smart speakers, security cameras and more.

Fortify: From patchwork solutions to permanent strategy

Healthcare organisations have adapted to half of the BYOE equation: Rapid rollouts of collaborative technology and expansions of existing solutions. Now that that the initial rush to step up virtual care and remote work is over, it’s time for the other half of the equation. Making certain that BYOE work can be done seamlessly and securely because employees’ environments have become a permanent part of the enterprise attack surface. For instance, workers’ homes have become part of today’s workspace, and they sit outside of an organisation’s secure architecture. Workers bring their own environments, further opening the door to cyber attackers that can cause complications for users of these devices and healthcare providers.

Now that the shockwaves are settling and short-term solutions did their job, it’s time to move to longer-term solutions with security at the centre. By addressing your BYOE risks and pain points now, your organisation can capitalise on new ways of working while doing so safely.

Extend: New workspace, new opportunities

To fully capitalise on BYOE, most healthcare organisations may need to rethink their operating models—even if physical work remains essential. It’s not just about accommodating a remote work benefit your people may have gotten used to, or even about increasing resilience against future disruptions. Today offers an opportunity to reimagine what you do and what you can offer to the employees who help you deliver it.

With a virtual-first approach, there are new opportunities to integrate emerging technologies into the workforce. Healthcare organisations can imagine the division of labor between humans and machines. Can robots perform physical work while offsite employees safely do the monitoring and strategy? Can the two work together to do certain work better?

With a virtual-first approach, there are new opportunities to integrate emerging technologies into the workforce.

Reinvent: Embrace the new work culture

The last piece of the BYOE puzzle may be the most unclear: culture. Consider the culture shift for the BYOE environment a work in progress, but commit to continued improvement. Another focus area is the disconnect between in-person and remote workers. The future will be all about balance. Healthcare workers will become hybrid workers in different roles, and can benefit from the best work environment for their particular needs, having their “office in the bag,” but without careful implementation, it could lead to a divided workforce. Clinical and non-clinical workers need to feel empowered to do the best job possible. They need the right tools to collaborate. And they need to feel valued for their contributions—no matter where they are made. For example, AI could transform the role of call centre agents, enabling them to spend less time on mundane issues and more time helping callers resolve more complex challenges, from wherever they may be working.

BYOE is the gateway to productivity anywhere, and healthcare leaders in the future will be the ones that lean into this opportunity and reimagine new ways of working to help people in this new model.

Decision points

Fortify: How is your organisation making remote work sustainable, seamless, and secure?
Identify the areas where your organisation made rapid digital transformations and prioritise addressing outstanding security concerns in those areas. Re-evaluate your overall technology strategy to ensure you’re maximising the benefits of remote work.

Extend: How are your people responding to remote work?
Build a deeper understanding of how healthcare workers are responding to remote work—what benefits or challenges are they experiencing? Partner with your workforce to understand the new demands they face as their own environment and “office in a bag” becomes their new workplace.

Reinvent: How are you thinking about the purpose of place moving forward?
Reimagine how space is utilised and even explore creating XR capabilities and environments that will foster immersive digital collaboration. Revise recruiting and talent strategies to take advantage of talent pools outside your typical geographic markets. Consider the culture and ways to ensure information advantages of workplaces (e.g. watercooler conversations) can be virtualised.

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