I was talking to the publisher at a major media outlet a few days ago about ideas related to “The Modern Office.” Ironically, the first thing that came to mind for me was that the “the modern office” doesn’t necessarily include an actual office anymore. With borderless networks and secure wireless access, more employees than ever are working remotely.
In “Wanted: Business Mobility Strategies” (Channel Partners, Apr 2011) there’s an interesting discussion about the growing need for IT to support devices of all types – personal or company-issued. But a complete strategy needs to take into account not just hardware and anytime, anywhere access, but also the business rules and policies to support genuine mobility.
Security should be a primary consideration factor in designing a wireless strategy. What devices are allowed to connect to the network? Should roaming or hotspot access be allowed? To what degree are device features allowed and which, if any, must be disabled? Obviously, data security plays a key role in establishing these procedures and policies.
According to the Cisco Connected Technology World Report, three out of five workers around the world believe that they do not need to be in the office anymore to be productive. In fact, their desire to be mobile and flexible in accessing corporate information is so strong that the same percentage of workers would choose jobs that were lower-paying but had leniency in accessing information outside of the office over higher salaried jobs that lacked flexibility.
The same Cisco study showed that two-thirds of employees surveyed (66 percent) expect IT to allow them to use any device – personal or company-issued – to access corporate networks, applications, and information anywhere, at any time. For employees who can access corporate networks, applications, and information outside of the office, nearly half of the respondents (45 percent) admitted working between two to three extra hours a day, and a quarter were putting in four hours or more.
With potential productivity increases in that range, it’s clear that companies need to consider and develop a mobility strategy sooner than later.