The workplace of the future is a term that is increasingly used to describe the way the traditional office is evolving. A key element is the growing adoption of remote working by full-time employees and the use of virtual teams to supplement internal resources.
The challenge for IT is to provide secure access to services, applications and data to the workforce, wherever they are located. Although mobile and remote access is not a new requirement, it’s the scale of the change that is significant.
Remote Working Increases
Respondents to a study by Oxford Economics on flexible working reported that around 30 percent of their workforce is remote most of the time. Thirty-eight percent said that they allowed most employees to set their own hours, provided they completed their tasks and 48 percent thought they would support that arrangement within three years.
Other factors are driving the transformation of the workforce. Remote working provides employees with an improved work/life balance. It also gives businesses the opportunity to reduce their real estate costs because the office is no longer the default workplace.
The Office is Going Mobile
Within the office, fixed deskspace is no longer seen as essential. For many employees, a smartphone or wireless phone is the communication tool of choice. Collaboration has moved out of the conference room as small huddle rooms or quiet workspaces enable collaboration over small-form conferencing tools or mobile collaboration apps. Mobile working within the office is an important element of the workplace of the future.
Collaboration and Productivity are Essential
Communication technologies like VoIP and UC, coupled with the widespread adoption of smartphones, means employees can work together and collaborate easily from different locations. And, location independence allows businesses to recruit from a wider pool of talent because employees don’t have to report to the office every day.
Virtual teams help small and medium businesses access skills and resources they lack or can’t afford to hire full time. Freelance contractors or consultants can provide specialist services when they are needed, but they can work within the business structure by using cloud-based communication and collaboration tools.
Cloud Deployment Meets New Demands
When so many employees are away from the office, businesses need to ensure they can continue to work productively. To achieve that, moving applications and services to the cloud is essential.
Cloud deployment means that remote employees and virtual teams can access their essential tools anywhere at any time using their mobile device and a high-speed Internet connection. For businesses with branch locations as well as remote workers, cloud deployment simplifies access to services, applications and data, and also ensures consistent availability across the organization.
There’s a benefit for IT too because there is no need to set up and manage dedicated remote access networks. That reduces costs and network complexity. Cloud scalability will also be important because the availability of virtual resources will allow businesses to easily outsource services like call centers, technical support, marketing and product development. During peak operations, cloud-based resources can scale on demand to meet the increased workloads.
Cloud migration is a priority in the workplace of the future. With the right cloud technologies and processes designed around mobility, the workplace of the future can become a reality and deliver powerful business benefits.
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