If the results of a recent study by Cisco Systems are correct, there may come a time when the corporate office is a thing of the past.
The increasing desire to balance work/life – which includes working non-traditional hours in nontraditional locations – and the maturation of technology to make that happen are converging to the point where more than half of workers surveyed by Cisco believe they no longer need to be in an office setting to be productive.
Results of The Cisco Connected World Report, a comprehensive look at the expectations, demands and behavior of workers around the world regarding how they work and communicate, show a change in the way employees view their jobs. No longer is commuting to an office and putting in eight hours considered a normal day; today's workforce clocks in longer and stays connected with their company long after the business day is over.
According to the study, which involved surveys of 2,600 workers and IT professionals in 13 countries, 13 percent of respondents noted that having the flexibility to work anywhere would dictate their company loyalty, while 12 percent said it would have an impact on their choice of jobs. In fact, two-thirds of respondents said they would take a job with less pay and more flexibility in device usage, access to social media and mobility over a higher-paying job with less flexibility.
The study also noted that employees want more ways to access corporate information when outside the office. Again, two-thirds of respondents said they expect their IT department to allow them to use any device, regardless of whether it's a personal device or a company-owned device, to access their company's networks, applications and information.
However, despite this demand for flexibility and mobility, less than half of the respondents – 45 percent – said their IT department was not prepared or equipped to support the demand. Security was the largest concern for 57 percent of respondents, followed by budget at 34 percent and staff expertise at 17 percent.
Chris Kozup, director of Cisco's Mobility and Borderless Networks Marketing, said the survey shows much about the migration of today's workforce beyond the corporate walls and need for companies to enable that migration through a supportive infrastructure.
"We conducted this survey because we wanted to see what the challenges are for today's workforce and where companies are in relation to addressing those challenges," he said. "It also shows us how Cisco can help address those challenges and where any gaps may be."
"Employee mobility is a fact of life, and the business advantages are clear across many industries," said Dave Evans, chief technologist of Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group. "Work is not a place anymore. It's a lifestyle, and the IT profession's role is only going to get more strategic as it tries to help businesses stay agile and increase productivity."