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Posted by TJ Keitt on June 7, 2011
Giving workers flexibility in when, where, and how they work is a hot topic right now. The US federal government has passed legislation to make telecommuting easier and multinational firms, like State Street, are instituting programs to let employees choose when and where they work. Why are organizations emphasizing this so much? Mobile and remote employees have more control over their work/life balance and won't have to stop working if circumstance prevents them from coming to the office. Furthermore, they can easily be collocated with clients and allow the company to reduce its real estate and carbon footprint. However, as this chart from my new report, Demystifying The Mobile Workforce, shows, information workers may be moving more quickly to this flexible way of working than their companies currently acknowledge: 66% of the North American and European workforce work outside the office at some point during a month.
If business leaders and their counterparts in IT are to get in front of this trend, they have to understand their mobile and remote workforce. For example, who is shifting work between the office and home? What technology are they using to do so? Do they believe that the company is doing a good job of providing them the policies and technology to work in this way? If business and IT leaders can't answer these questions, they will be hard pressed to accurately:
As we show in the aforementioned report, gaining this needed understanding of the workforce begins with a formal research process. This can include both in-depth interviews with selected business and IT leaders, as well as rank and file employees, and an online survey of some or all of the workforce to verify the findings of the qualitative interviews. The bottom line is that if businesses are to smartly plan for and provision a mobile workforce, they need to have a firm grasp of what the issues are related to these workers. That being said, is your business really ready to handle the bulk of your employees doing work full or part time from outside your firewall?