We recently launched a global survey showing how people plan to work (and with what device) in 2011. The results were a staggering validation of the flexible working practices so frequently talked about by the media and analysts – it is happening, right here, right now. With such a strong pattern emerging on a global level, I was curious to know how these results tallied with local Irish worker attitudes, so we recently took to the streets to ask over 100 Irish workers exactly how they plan to work in 2011 too.

The findings reveal that a quiet revolution is taking place in offices all over Ireland: 78 per cent of Irish workers are now working outside the office each week and of those 38 per cent say they are “much more” productive working outside of the office and 60 per cent are “just as” productive.

Ireland is no longer a one device society relying on a PC or laptop for all tasks. Fifty six per cent of those surveyed said they use personal devices such as smart phones, laptops and iPads for work purposes and 46 per cent of workers reported using three or more different devices (tablet, smartphone, PC and so on) on a daily basis. A whopping 97 per cent of Irish workers are already using those devices to perform everyday tasks such as banking, restaurant reservations and shopping as opposed to in person. When travelling, 74 per cent still travel with a laptop but 57 per cent now also travel with a smartphone, whilst 10 per cent said they travel with tablets, a number which is anticipated to increase in the next year.

Irish workers are also increasingly ‘tech savvy’ with 80 per cent of those who use personal devices for work purposes saying they are “do it yourself-ers”. This means that they take care of their own IT needs rather than relying on IT to manage the device or install new applications. The majority are also progressive when it comes to their IT requirements – 51 per cent of respondents see the value in cloud computing with 28 per cent of this group accessing applications every day.

What does this all mean? On a simple level, the ability to work from anywhere can make a huge difference to individual and organisational productivity, as well as to employees’ work-life balance. What we are seeing in Ireland is that workers are tech-savvy and they’re not afraid to use this knowledge to benefit their work ‘experience’. In turn, organisations are recognising the benefits of a mobile workforce in terms of productivity, efficiency and cost saving… 2011 could turn out to be an interesting year as organisations (by choice or not) begin to free their workforce.