As usual in the tech world, the year is getting off to a busy start with CES on January 10.  This year’s show promises to introduce a lot of new devices that can be used for work and play.  In fact, I am seeing predictions from major technology publications saying 2012 will be “year of the ultrabook” (e.g., MacBook Air).  That got me thinking about the results from our end of 2011 countdown survey, which asked a question each day about how people would be working (or not) over the holidays.  More than 55% of those surveyed told us that they would be workshifting (moving work to a more optimal place – typically outside the office) and that their employers supported it year-round.  Not only that, but more than 50% of respondents said they would be using a tablet or smartphone to check in with work over the holidays, versus just 21% who would use laptops.  Plus, when asked what type of apps they would be using most during the season, a whopping 93% said they’d be using apps that help them work – only about half that percentage said they’d use apps for shopping or games. 

So what do all these stats tell us?  With the rising popularity of super-light ultrabooks, it seems like the perfect storm for an increase in workshifting (and in turn, productivity) in 2012. Not only can we continue to use our smartphone or tablet for working on-the-go, but with laptops becoming more convenient to tote with us, it will make it even easier to get the heavy-lifting work done from anywhere at any time.  You have likely heard our CEO Mark Templeton refer to a food analogy to talk about how we use each device differently.  We can use our smartphone to “snack” on information – perhaps catch up on industry news or email.  A tablet allows us to dive in a little more and “dine” – let’s say creating and editing documents.  Whereas a laptop (or now, ultrabooks) enable us to really “cook” and create complicated spreadsheets, analyze data, etc.  Like cuisine, everyone has different preferences and “recipes” for success.

But just how much access to work do people want?  For that question, I will again refer to our recent survey – when asked just how connected they would be while on vacation over the holidays, 57% said they would be checking email a few times a day.  A hard core 27% said they would be checking in every 30-60 minutes, while only 5% said they wouldn’t be checking in at all.  And of those that received or purchased a new device during December, 84% said they would be using it for both business and personal use.  Perhaps my favorite question asked how many times people used their smartphone or tablet to answer a question at the holiday dinner table.  I can assure you our country’s family values are not in danger, as 44% said they did not use them at all! 

These results (see them all here) tell me that what I suspected back in December was correct – having the freedom to work from wherever and whenever you find inspiration can help relieve stress, increase productivity and give us even more quality time to spend with our families.  Keep an eye on Citrix in 2012 for more innovation in virtualization and the cloud that will help us to further balance our personal and business lives!