The way we work is changing and there is no stopping it. As organizations look to maximize business agility and productivity while ensuring they can attract and retain the best possible talent, the adoption of workshifting continues to rise. In yesterday’s PC era, workshifters were the exception to an overwhelmingly office-centric workforce. In today’s cloud era, they are becoming the assumption.
But what does workshifting really entail and how can offering a more flexible work environment benefit both organizations and people?
Well workshifting, in its simplest form, is the movement of work to the most optimal locations, times and resources. Workplace trends, including the consumerization of IT and increasing adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYO), continue to drive workshifting adoption. But just how many enlightened organizations are really adopting workshifting? Well, according to a recent global workshifting survey conducted by Citrix, 93 percent of organizations reported their intention to provide flexible work environments by 2013.
Why is workshifting so hot? Primarily, it is because workshifting allows people who work from home or mobile employees to work anytime, anyplace, and on the device of their choosing. Many IT decision-makers are well aware of these benefits, and in our survey, 71 percent indicated they are using new workshifting policies to enable employees to shift work to the times, places, and devices that work best for them. The best part about workshifting is that the benefits aren’t limited to the employee. In fact, they extend to the business itself in a number of key ways.
Lower costs, top-notch people, great customer service – what’s not to love?
Reduced business costs – In our survey, 68 percent of organizations believed this was key. Real estate, travel and labor costs can all be minimized through an optimized workshifting policy.
Attracting and retaining top talent – People have grown to expect flexibility. Having the ability to work in the location of their choice is a prerequisite for many employees. Organizations can also differentiate from competitors and cut recruitment costs if they enable workshifting.
Increasing the labor pool- Organizations can employ previously hard to reach people such as parents with family commitments or people with restrictions on the time they can spend in the office. Simply put, workshifting allows businesses to hire the very best people, no matter where they’re physically located.
Better serve customers – Fifty one percent of senior IT decision makers noted that deploying workers closer to key customers ensured a better, more consistent customer service experience.
Shower the people with love…
Work/life balance – A happy workforce is a more productive workforce – workshifting enables people to choose when they work based on balancing personal and professional commitments rather than nine-to-five working hours.
Improve flexibility – Workshifting provides people the option to choose the preferred time, place and device for their work. By adapting their environment to their work style, or body clock, people can drastically improve personal productivity.
Increased personal productivity – There is nothing better than the feeling of accomplishment. 64 percent of organizations surveyed cited increased productivity as a common goal.
Workshifting is now a practical proposition for all types of organizations. High-speed internet access, 3G/4G wireless communications and portable computing devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets empower people to be productive outside of the traditional office environment. Underpinning this work trend is an important technology trend – desktop virtualization. It enables companies and staff to do much more with less. Companies need no persuasion: more than 9 out of 10 organizations (91 percent) plan use desktop virtualization by 2013 and they are already seeing the benefits, most notably:
The power to “say yes” to an increasingly mobile workforce with universal device access
Lower costs via a centralized IT delivery model for all desktops and apps
A secure-by-design infrastructure that controls access and protects data
Built-in business continuity, providing 24/7 access for all users, even in an emergency
So, as businesses and organizations around the globe race to develop their own workshifting plans, they should feel safe in knowing they aren’t alone. The basic technologies for enabling an increasingly distributed workforce are also readily available, but if they want to differentiate from their competitors – they better get crackin’!