When asked about what’s transformed modern business, my answer is always the same: mobility. The ability of users to move from place to place—from the office, to the plane, or even to the beach—with seamless access to resources has completely changed the way business works. Much of the discussion around mobility focuses on individual productivity, as employees are empowered to get their work done anywhere, at any time, in the way that works best for them. While this is certainly a great benefit for workers, employers also need to pay close attention to the implications of mobility for collaboration—an integral process for everything from product design and development to addressing customer needs.
Take a look at some recent statistics and you’ll see a clear picture of an American workforce that becomes increasingly more mobile every year. The recent Wakefield Workforce Flexibility Survey reports that that 44 percent of US office professionals have never met some of their coworkers in person. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? As they enable individual mobility, it’s crucial to ensure that employees can remain engaged with the people they work with—not just coworkers, but partners and customers, as well. The key is to provide the flexibility people need to engage with anyone, anywhere, from any place and from any device.
So: how do you do enable that flexibility? Simplifying cloud-based experiences for workers will help position them to do their best work and to make a real difference for the organization and its customers. In fact, Wakefield’s research shows that 57 percent of U.S. office professionals at companies with a flexible work environment are currently using cloud-based apps. And employees understand the importance and value of this approach; 75 percent of the respondents believe that in five years businesses with a flexible work environment (in terms of where, when and how work gets done) will not be competitive without using cloud-based apps.
Think about the ways that a flexible work experience can help employees work effectively with co-workers, partners and customers, not to mention balance their personal lives. An account rep can travel to a customer’s office to work through a challenge face-to-face. A doctor can consult with a colleague on a difficult case without having to leave the clinic—or can do so from home after-hours to devote more of her office time to patients. An insurance agent can complete a claim right at the site of an accident or disaster to deliver faster service to the policyholder. Flexibility makes it possible to blend work and personal life in harmony, enhancing overall satisfaction.
Flexibility like this isn’t just a “nice-to-have”; for many workers, it’s non-negotiable. Look again at the Wakefield study, 51 percent of those surveyed reported higher morale and 50 percent reported increased productivity. Based on its own research, Steelcase reports that corporate cultures that embrace flexibility—along with technologies that make it possible—are critical for keeping employees engaged.
None of this is new to Citrix, of course; we’ve enabled flexible work experiences like these since our inception. Today, Citrix Workspace solutions bring together all the applications people rely on—on every platform—and make them available on any device over any network connection. Within our organization, we actively promote flexibility through redesigned office environments, flexible work policies, and BYOD programs. We see the positive impact every day in the engagement, performance, and satisfaction of our team members, as they collaborate freely whenever and however best drives value for the business.
Of course, the drive to increase workplace flexibility can’t mean compromising on security. As people work in new and different ways, companies can face greater risks of data leakage or penetration by viruses or other malware attacks. The same tools that enable any-device, any-network access to apps and data must also ensure context-appropriate access control. We help our customers use technologies, such as our application delivery platform, secure browsing and network intelligence to provide digital work environments that are as secure as they are flexible.
As I’ve said many times before, Citrix believes that the future of work means being able to have it all: saying “yes” to the freedom, flexibility and seamless productivity employees have been asking for, without giving an inch on security. That’s how you empower the workforce your company needs to realize the full potential of the future of work.