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Is Your Small Business Workshifting Yet?

October 25th, 2012 ::

By Maria Valdez Haubrich

If you’ve been on the fence about letting your small business employees work remotely, whether from home or otherwise out of the office, a new report from Citrix might give you food for thought. Nearly one-fourth of companies worldwide have already fully adopted mobile work, or what the Citrix Workplace of the Future report calls workshifting.

The study of companies in 19 nations defines workshifting as having employees work at optimal times and locations, even if that’s not the traditional 9-to-5. The real news in the study? By the middle of 2014, Citrix projects a whopping 83 percent of businesses around the world will use workshifting.

If the future pans out the way Citrix predicts, by 2020 one-third of employees will never work from a traditional office. Instead, they’ll work at home, field sites or at customers’ offices.

Why are companies using workshifting? Employers in the survey reported benefits including:

  • creating a more flexible, agile workplace (73 percent)
  • cutting employee-related costs (53 percent)
  • lower real estate costs (48 percent)
  • helping to attract (47 percent) and retain (44 percent) top talent

Employees like workshifting because it

  • offers greater flexibility (65 percent)
  • increases their productivity (62 percent)
  • shortens commutes (61 percent)
  • makes it easier to have work/life balance (55 percent)

One issue that could cause problems for small businesses in adopting workshifting: By 2020, Citrix says the average employee will access his or her employer’s computer network from six different devices. The vast majority of companies in the survey say they plan to rely on BYOD (bring your own device) approach to workshifting technology. That means their employees will be able to choose and buy their own devices.

While that might seem like a great way to save money on technology, it can cause major security risks for a small business. If you’re considering workshifting, whether now or in the future, make sure you have strong security policies in place to protect your business’s network and sensitive company and customer data. If necessary, enlist an IT consultant to help you assess your risks and develop a policy.

Image by Flickr user Evelyn Giggles (Creative Commons)

 

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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