Wi-Fi solutions provider Aruba Networks today (17 June 2014) revealed a new global study highlighting that 70% IT professionals are under increasing pressure to deliver and support an all-wireless workplace from their top executives and #GenMobile employees, who are demanding greater flexibility and better collaboration.
Building on a recent mobile worker study, Aruba surveyed 1,000 global IT professionals to understand how they are managing #GenMobile employees (defined as the new generation of tech-savvy users who rely on their mobile devices for every aspect of work and personal communication).
Aruba also simultaneously commissioned The Future Laboratory, the trend-forecasting consultancy, to explore how the workplace will look in the near future.
Both studies suggest that the creation of an agile, all-wireless workplace is no longer an option, but a requirement. In addition to a significant competitive advantage, business leaders now recognize that the benefits of this approach include employee retention, productivity, and cost savings.
However, the results highlight that today just 14% of employees enjoy the flexibility and freedom of such a workplace, suggesting that global businesses still have a lot of work to do.
Managing #GenMobile: key findings
- 51% of global organisations saw a rise in mobile/remote working last year and 77% noted an increase in #GenMobile employees using mobile devices for work during the past year
- The spike in mobility has resulted in nearly 70% of IT professionals feeling pressure to deliver improvements in mobile working
- To support top executives and #GenMobile mobility demands, 71% of IT departments increased their investment in Wi-Fi, while another 46% were granted increased budgets for future mobility projects
- 56% of companies surveyed globally actually encourage or have no policy banning the use of personal devices at work. Only a 12% discourage the use of personal devices for work
- 77% of C-level executives expressed greater levels of interest in mobile technologies in the workplace to support #GenMobile employees
- The debate about how to support BYOD is becoming a thing of the past as 59% of IT professionals said their company has already fully embraced employee BYOD or implemented new policies to support it.
“Executives and #GenMobile employees alike prefer an increasingly mobile style of working; and IT organisations are feeling the pressure to adapt existing technology investments to meet their requirements,” said Ben Gibson, chief marketing officer for Aruba Networks.
“The workplace of the future will not only need to be right-sized to align with IT budgets but it will also require a mobility-centric and secure wireless infrastructure, a move towards employee self-service, and a willingness to embrace consumer IT technologies to enhance #GenMobile productivity.”
Mobile Technology Investment – 2013/2014
The chart below highlights how IT investments for mobility technologies have changed over the past year.
Mobile Device Management
Network Access Control
Mobile Unified Communications
Mobile Application Development
Aruba customer, Russell Hookway, network and telecommunications manager at Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, a large municipality in west London, UK, commented: “Technology should be an enabler for our staff. Across our council, employees are now actively choosing a ‘mobile-first’ working model, because it makes them more efficient. Creating an environment that supports this model makes good business sense. Our new message to workers is work where you want, when you want and how you want. No questions asked.”
The survey results show that mobility is a highly desirable productivity tool but not at the expense of corporate or personal security. When IT professionals were asked about security concerns as they relate to mobility, 74% assessed mobility security requirements based on the devices’ security features or the employees’ mobile work requirements. Only 13% responded that security concerns have stopped them from allowing mobile work capabilities for #GenMobile employees.
“It is clear businesses are starting to realize the clear benefits of mobility,” Gibson continued. “It’s now essential they make the right investment decisions to secure the business and employee.”
An Outlook: The Future Workplace
According to The Future Laboratory report, the term ‘office’ will become obsolete as a new model for work emerges. The emerging workplace will facilitate a flexible work culture in a society where the nine to five workday is increasingly the exception rather than the rule. The modern workplace will be a hub with a blend of business/leisure travelers, shared workspaces and flexible work environments.
“New technologies and new ways of doing business are irreversibly transforming the way we design offices as well as the way we fundamentally think of workspaces,” said The Future Laboratory co-founder, Chris Sanderson.
“Cloud-based technologies and the increased use of mobile devices as our work tools of choice are ushering in a new social, cultural and corporate paradigm where workplaces are more federated and collaborative, less hierarchical and increasingly less location-specific, as more of #GenMobile employees clock in by logging on.”
“We are no longer simply business people at work and private people at home,” says Martin Lindstrom, author and brand futurist. “People are checking personal emails at work and work emails at home. The lines between work and play are merging on all levels.”
To read more, download the “Future Workplaces” report from here:
The survey was conducted via Survey Monkey to Aruba Networks customers covering the following markets: USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Nordics, Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and South Africa.