Why your workplace should try some flexibility

The idea of mobile working is nothing new. Businesspeople have been travelling and working remotely for years and work-from-home policies are becoming more common.

In a recent survey commissioned by Citrix, the majority of respondents were embracing or planning to implement “workshifting,” the company’s term for flexible work environments, including the choice to work remotely.

There are great things about a physical work environment. Despite all the alternatives, face-to-face collaboration is still important and effective. And some people truly prefer 9 to 5 in the office instead of at home, where there can be more distraction (despite the benefits of working in sweatpants).

But as technology develops, the case for a mobile workforce (at least some of the time) does too. Still, despite Citrix’s figures, not all companies (or IT departments) may be willing to make the change. And without IT’s help and enthusiasm, though, mobile working policies will likely fail.

Naturally, with workers spread out, using different devices, IT is going to face challenges with security and support issues, among others. Possibly, some investments would also have to be made, like in video conferencing tools or desktop virtualization.  

But consider the benefits.

Apart from saving on operating costs like real estate, “workshifting” can also help with retaining employees, Citrix points out. Employee turnover can create huge costs for payouts and training new employees and can also have an impact on overall morale in a workplace.

Flexibility is also key for attracting new talent (especially young people) and tackling skills shortages. Avoiding a long commute and more flexible hours are a huge draw for job hunters. So if your best candidates prefers teleworking, maybe you should consider helping make that happen.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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