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The rising demand for workplace mobility

The rising demand for workplace mobility

Companies can boost their operations by allowing employees to work remotely

When you think of the traditional workplace, the first thing that comes to mind is most likely an office filled with cubicles and meeting rooms – often designed in an uninspiring and unproductive way.

However, due to advancements in technology, those times are changing.

We are now starting to see a scenario where employees can complete and submit work, access company data and join meetings all from a location that is best suited to them. A coffee shop, library or park bench all have the ability to transform into a mobile office with the help of your laptop, tablet or other mobile device – a situation that could very well be the future for everyone.

Working professionals across the UAE have expressed their desire to work remotely. According to a report commissioned by Citrix on the impact of mobility in businesses across the UAE, 83 per cent of employees have already utilised the practice in some form, giving them greater satisfaction in addition to a better balance between their work and personal lives.

For those with family commitments, working from home could be an excellent option – 82 per cent of employees stated that they would prefer remote working as it gives them more time to spend with their loved ones.

The reduced commute has proven to be an attractive benefit for employees, with time in gridlock traffic being converted into precious working hours. This can also have an impact for those who service clients, as 66 per cent of employees felt having the capability to work remotely gave them greater flexibility in meeting customer needs. Workers have also expressed the notion that such policies would have a positive impact on their health and result in an overall increase in productivity.

Despite the high levels of interest in remote working policies, the level of adoption is not on par with demand – only 45 per cent of companies in the UAE offer their employees partial mobility solutions. Among the contributing factors as to why IT decision makers are hesitant are cost, perceived security concerns and the difficulty that comes with supporting multiple mobile applications.

Business owners also worry that a lack of monitoring will lead to employees being prone to distractions. Some would argue that, in a traditional office, people are far more mindful of how they spend their time. There is a belief that the speed at which work is delivered, as well as its quality, might be sacrificed when employees are away from their desks.

Businesses leaders are also concerned about relationships between colleagues deteriorating, the lack of physical presence making it difficult to operate and communicate as one team.

While these may be valid points, they can be mitigated with the correct implementation of mobility in the workplace. For example, there are various collaboration tools available so that employees can work together on projects regardless of their location. This workspace model ensures that employees can securely access all the data and applications they need and gives them the ability to collaborate with their colleagues and customers around the world.

Management teams can monitor such solutions, allowing them to ensure that the policy is not being abused.

There are risks that come with offering employees access to corporate data anytime, anywhere and on any device. But the benefits have the potential to outweigh them by a considerable margin. Especially the positive impact it can have on creating a customer-centric model.

Customers today have raised their expectations considerably. They require a service which is swift and of a high calibre. In order to meet these demands, companies must ensure that their employees are not restricted from accessing business systems remotely. They should be able to communicate with customers just as efficiently as they would from their office space, without a hindrance, helping to promote a corporate culture that places the customer at the heart of all operations while improving their engagement and overall satisfaction.

By providing the technology to enable full mobility beyond the boundaries of physical desks, businesses can empower employees to work smarter. This can drive a team to perform to the best of their ability and enhance company operations as a whole. While perhaps most importantly attracting and retaining the best talent in a highly competitive market.

Johnny Karam is vice president for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Citrix

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