Personalizing the Workplace Experience
Mobile technology is blurring the lines between personal and professional time, a new CSC survey finds. Mobile workers are fine with that, but they want more support.
Enterprise mobility is transforming the workplace. Staff can now work anytime, anywhere, and on any number of connected devices.
Today’s increasingly smart mobile devices — coupled with advances in cloud computing, collaboration software and social platforms — are making older definitions of “the office” obsolete.
To learn more, CSC, in collaboration with market research firm TNS Custom Research, Inc., recently surveyed 1,000 U.S. executives, mobile workers, knowledge and contract workers. Among the key findings:
- One in four executives primarily does his or her job away from headquarters.
- 45 percent of executives say “mobile” is now their main work environment, ahead of both “home office” and “workstation.”
- 60 percent of rank-and-file knowledge workers perform their jobs in more than one location during a typical week.
- Nearly half of those surveyed believe that communication and collaboration will have the biggest impact on the success of their enterprises — ahead of planning, strategy, product quality, or competitors.
- Over 75 percent of executives want to integrate public and private clouds with on-premises solutions. And more than 80 percent see benefits to using IT as a Service.
For CIOs, these dramatic changes in the workplace bring new challenges. Their IT departments must now support a growing array of devices, operating systems, applications and storage platforms — and do so within networks that are secure and easy to access.
IT executives must also ensure that the needs of their users are not only met, but met on their terms. That’s proving difficult. In the CSC workplace survey, more than 85 percent of respondents say their enterprises fail to keep up with the latest technologies.
Mobility redefines the workplace
The consumerization of IT has raised the expectations and demands of many workers beyond what their CIOs can deliver. When asked whether their mobile devices offer all the functionality required for greater productivity, more than 55 percent of respondents to the CSC survey answered no.
Perhaps that is why nearly a third of the survey respondents prefer using their own devices at work, rather than those given to them by IT. Among executives, the share using their own mobile devices at work reaches an even higher 38 percent. Similarly, many knowledge workers now work exclusively from either home or a local coffee shop with public Wi-Fi. A majority of contractors — a significant and growing segment of workers — work remotely, too.
These employees and contractors want to connect to networks and data using the devices of their choice. In response, IT departments will increasingly need to manage and secure data to and from a multitude of endpoints.
Connecting mobile/guest workers
A mobile/guest worker who cannot access an enterprise’s network or data is a less productive — and more frustrated — worker. No surprise, then, that 95 percent of the CSC workplace survey respondents agree that the ability to reliably and securely access files and information remotely would benefit employees and their enterprises. In part, that’s because more than 40 percent of the survey respondents say their jobs require them to remotely access files and data. Similarly, nearly 30 percent say using tools to share and retrieve files is the most important way they work.
Enterprise workers also connect over social media. Fully 80 percent of the survey respondents say they now use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ during work hours. To be sure, not all of that is related to work — another example of the blurring lines between professional and personal time.
Collaboration: key to success
Perhaps the single most important function enabled by enterprise connectivity is collaboration. With growing numbers of enterprise employees working outside the office, robust collaboration tools are needed. These tools can be used for specific projects and sharing information, knowledge, skills and insights.
However, not all workers are ready to embrace the latest collaboration and communications tools. Nearly a third of the respondents in the CSC workplace survey still prefer using the telephone, and another 30 percent opt for good old email. Instant messaging is preferred by only 16 percent, and about the same percentage choose video conferencing. When it comes to file-sharing, fewer than 40 percent of the respondents say they would opt for file-sharing software; nearly half say they still prefer email.
Improvement is needed in other areas, too. Fully 95 percent of the survey respondents believe their employees and enterprises would benefit from improving how they share information, and how they organize teams and projects. Nearly as many also believe their enterprises would benefit from both better collaboration and expanded remote access to tools.
Stepping up to the task
Still, many enterprise workers say they’re willing to embrace new tools, if those tools can help them do their jobs better and more efficiently. The burden of delivering these next-generation technologies in a secure and reliable network environment will weigh heavily on enterprise IT. CIOs face growing pressure in other areas, too, such as reducing their IT-infrastructure costs and meeting compliance requirements.
Looking ahead, IT executives may need to experiment with new models of technology consumption. They’ll also need to explore solutions that consolidate and manage a new generation of enterprise tools. The end result should be a workplace that enables and empowers communication, collaboration and connectivity, even as the lines between personal and professional time continue to blur.