What is a Virtual Workspace and How your Organization Can Benefit from it?

The shift to remote working is here to stay. Although organizations may return to the office, they continue integrating workspace technology into their daily operations.

Why? Because the benefits of virtual workspace go beyond remote working. Having a workspace in the cloud provides stronger security and compliance. It also improves operations and streamlines workflows, among other benefits.

What is a Virtual Workspace?

The term “virtual workspace” is generally used to describe a working environment where users digitally connect to each other regardless of their physical location. Users in a virtual workspace work together using tools that foster communication and collaboration.

While this type of virtual environment started as a way to replicate a physical office, these days, virtual workspaces are used to improve efficiency, collaboration, and security.

What are the elements of a virtual workspace?

The goal of a virtual workspace is to simplify employees’ work by organizing tasks and data. Therefore, three characteristics must be present in a virtual workspace:

Unification

What does it mean when a workspace is unified? It involves centralizing apps, desktops, and data. Users can collaborate and work on the same projects and documents. It allows users to access documents, data, and tools they need for work from a central interface that works from any device.

Security

A virtual workspace enhances security since it gives IT teams centralized control over each point of access. An efficient workspace includes advanced security features such as single sign-on access control and security analytics. Workers can securely sign on from anywhere on any device, ensuring a great user experience. The analytics capabilities ensure the detection of internal threats before they turn into a bigger problem.

Automation

An effective virtual workspace uses artificial intelligence technologies such as machine learning to automate and streamline frequent tasks. Users can save time and effort by using micro-apps to automate their workflows.

Cloud Versus On-Premises Workspaces

Some companies use a type of virtual workspace within an on-premises format. This involves a large investment in infrastructure for these hosted desktops, which makes them unsuitable for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

A cloud workspace, on the other hand, has no CAPEX costs. Since the solution is hosted in the cloud, there’s no need for companies to buy more servers to scale their operations.

An on-premises infrastructure also lacks the flexibility of a cloud virtual environment, which can be accessed from any device connected to the internet.

Who Benefits from a Virtual Workspace?

Workspace virtualization has been proven to drive the digital transformation of organizations of all sizes. According to Gartner, smart workspaces are among the top trends of digital workplaces.

Image Source: Smarter with Gartner

Who benefits the most from virtual workspaces? Here are some use cases:

Hybrid workforce

As companies slowly return to the office, they need to ensure the transition for their workforce is as smooth as possible. Working some days from the office and partially from home can be a challenge. A virtual workspace ensures employees use the same interface, regardless of where they are. Users have the same experience and can collaborate on the same workspace, both at home and at the office.

Remote workers

Similarly, employees who always work remotely can benefit from a unified virtual workspace. A recent survey found that 39% of US remote workers prefer working at home full time. Remote teams, such as customer support and call centers, can comply with data privacy regulations with a secured cloud workspace, including PCI DSS.

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Mobile workers

Workers on the go, like those on delivery, transportation, or traveling for work, can work securely with a virtual workspace. Employees can safely log in and continue working securely from remote locations.

Healthcare employees

First responders, healthcare workers, and doctors can have real-time and secure access to a patient’s data wherever they are. The virtual workspace can save time while enforcing privacy by encrypting all data by default, keeping it accessible only to authorized personnel.

Benefits of Working in a Virtual Workspace

Working in a virtual environment has many benefits for your staff. Among them: flexibility, security, and a consistent experience. Let’s explore even more benefits of virtual workspaces.

Creates a work-from-anywhere company culture

Workspaces help workers easily transition to remote work and back to the office, creating a streamlined work environment. This transforms the company culture, creating a flexible work-from-anywhere environment. The entire workflow is revolutionized, prioritizing achieving goals and giving employees a better work-life balance.

Simplifies work

A centralized workspace unifies processes, making the work easier for staff. Users can access all data, documents, and tools available to them right from the central dashboard. They can pick up work left by their team members and automatically send it for approval. Finally, when users are not managing endless stacks of apps, they are more productive.

Builds teamwork

Streamlined workflows help teams collaborate better. The communication flows easily with internal messaging and automated requests. File sharing capabilities help the team stay organized. A central repository stores all relevant documents and information for the project. This addresses one of the most common issues for teams: wasting time looking for info.

11 Advantages of Adopting a Virtual Workspace for Organizations

1. Lower costs
A virtual workspace allows employees to work from anywhere, so there is no need for a large office space, which reduces infrastructure costs. You can transition to a smaller space, which reduces rent, security, and maintenance—and increases ROI.

2. More employee satisfaction
A virtual workspace centralizes the technology stack, simplifying the work and saving the employees’ time. This, in turn, provides a better employee experience, increasing staff engagement. The tasks become simpler and faster to achieve, resulting in happier and more productive employees.

3. Better cloud migration
A successful transition to the cloud is not easy to achieve. A secure virtual workspace can help the migration process run smoothly. Virtual workspaces give the flexibility to move to the cloud with any model, whether it is a public, private, or hybrid environment. Virtual workspaces allow for a secure and controlled migration of apps and desktops with automation features and full visibility of the process

4. Improved productivity
Simplified workflows save staff time and effort, allowing workers to focus on their core business instead of repetitive tasks. Research shows that virtual workspaces increase productivity.

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Research by Salesforce showed 86% of people working remotely with virtual workspaces rated their productivity as excellent or good. However, virtual workspaces also increase productivity inside the organization. When staff can easily collaborate, work, and approve tasks, the workflows better.

5. Business continuity
A virtual environment enables companies to continue activities in times of crisis. Since everything is backed up in the cloud, disaster recovery is faster.

6. Access to more market opportunities and talent
In a virtual work environment, the recruiting pool is broader. Moreover, since productivity improves, businesses can access bigger market opportunities than before.

7. Scalability
A virtual environment means operations can be easily scaled up or down. The cloud offers the opportunity to add more resources quickly and effortlessly. Team members, applications, and tools can be added hassle-free.

8. Increased security
While giving employees access to information with ease is a priority for companies, it also presents a potential risk of compromised accounts. With many employees still performing tasks away from the office, full- or part-time, the risk of a data breach increases.

A virtual workspace in the cloud unifies access through single sign-on (SSO) from any device. With fewer passwords to manage, the risk of an attacker having access to the network is reduced. Access permission control capabilities ensure only authorized users have access to sensitive data.

9. Better IT management
The centralization of a virtual workspace also gives IT teams more visibility into endpoints, traffic, access, and network activity. AI-powered behavioral analytics and built-in security features protect the company’s network from malware, attacks, and user negligence. IT teams can detect and stop threats before they become a serious problem.

10. Environmentally friendly
The flexibility of working in hybrid teams (office/remote), reduces commuting, resulting in lower carbon emissions. Companies investing in a virtual workspace also reduce their use of paper, since most documents are shared digitally.

11. Flexibility
Adding apps and software solutions to a virtual environment is easier than with an on-premises workspace. The unified console gives a single point of management for all apps and tools inside the workspace. Users have a centralized access point to all tools and applications they need. New apps can be added to the central console without compromising security. Workers can use the apps they need inside the controlled workspace environment. 

Work Smarter with a Citrix Workspace

Citrix Workspace solutions increase productivity and ROI by providing the flexibility and security companies need. With Citrix Workspace, you can deliver the apps and data your users need to be productive, regardless of location and device. Moving to the cloud is also easier with our workspace solutions, starting on-premises and moving to the cloud without impacting operations.

Ensure a great employee experience, seamless collaboration, and productivity. Explore how to work smarter with Citrix Workspace. If you have more questions, request a demo.

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