Three of five workers around the world believe they do not need to be in the office anymore to be productive, finds an international workplace study commissioned by Cisco. In fact, their desire to be mobile and flexible in accessing corporate information is so strong that the same percentage of workers would choose jobs that were lower-paying but had leniency in accessing information outside of the office over higher salaried jobs that lacked flexibility.
The study, which involved surveys of 2,600 workers and IT professionals in 13 countries, revealed that three of every five employees (60%) believed it was unnecessary to be in the office to be productive. This was especially the case in Asia and Latin America. More than nine of 10 employees in India (93%) said they did not need to be in the office to be productive. This sentiment was extremely prevalent in China (81%) and Brazil (76%) as well.
Two of every three employees surveyed (66%) expect IT to allow them to use any device – personal or company-issued – to access corporate networks, applications, and information anywhere at any time, and they expect the types of devices to continue diversifying. In the future, employees expect their choice of network-connected endpoints to broaden to non-traditional work devices like televisions and navigation screens in cars.
For employees who can access corporate networks, applications, and information outside of the office, about half of the respondents (45%) admitted working between two to three extra hours a day, and a quarter were putting in four hours or more. However, extra hours do not translate to always-on, on-demand employees. They simply want the flexibility to manage their work-life balance throughout their waking hours.
Employees also feel strongly about having the flexibility to work anywhere that it would dictate their company loyalty (13%), choice of jobs (12%), and morale (9%). For example, two of three employees worldwide (66%) said they would take a job with less pay and more flexibility in device usage, access to social media, and mobility than a higher-paying job without such flexibility. This percentage was higher in some countries, such as Spain (78%), despite economic woes the past couple years.
Despite the demand for mobility, almost half of the IT respondents (45%) said their companies not prepared policy- and technology-wise to support a more borderless, mobile workforce. Not surprisingly, security is the top concern.
Although many of the IT respondents felt security (57%), budget (34%), and staff expertise (17%) were the biggest barriers to enabling a more distributed workforce, employees often felt IT and corporate policies were the obstacles. This perception among employees was extremely prevalent in India, where more than half (58%) felt IT was the obstacle to a more flexible work style.