The Future of the Modern Workplace: Bring Your Own Device

Traditionally, businesses provide employees with one of the same computers or phones that were provided to every other employee. These devices were all the same, and employees were expected to adapt to them. However, in today’s world, different employees are accustomed to different devices, and choice is increasingly becoming an important aspect of job happiness. As a result, some employers are listening and a new movement has evolved: BYOD, or bring your own device (BYOD). This allows employees to choose which phones, computers, and devices they want to use for work, providing them with comfortability and increased productivity.

The Future of the Modern Workplace: Bring Your Own DeviceDespite employer doubt, research shows that employers and employees around the globe are benefiting from the BYOD movement. Research from Citrix shows:

Benefits for employers include:

• 80% cost-related benefits

• 73% agile workplace

• 47% employee attraction

• 44% employee retention

• 36% better business continuity

Benefits for employees include:

• 65% increased flexibility

• 62% increased productivity

• 61% reduced commuting time

• 55% better work/life balance

• 26% not having to work a standard 9-to-5

As the telecommuting trend continues to grow, allowing a BYOD environment is an important aspect of making your remote employees feel comfortable. It’s clear from Citrix’s research that there are benefits for employees and employers alike.

To read all of Citrix’s research on how mobile workstyles could benefit you or your organization, view Citrix’s infograhic, Mobile Workstyles On The Rise. To learn more about how to set up remote workers for success, view our infographic, Tips and Best Practices for Working Remotely.

3 Questions to Ask When Considering a Telecommuting Policy

As employees long for more flexible work environments, telecommuting has become a hot topic and some employers still doubt its viability. However, the number of companies that allow their employees to telecommute appears to be rising year after year. Currently, 34 million people “occasionally” telecommute, and this number is expected to increase to 63 million by 2016. Based on the upward trend and success, that number will only continue to grow.

Many businesses, including Google and Intel, have proved telecommuting can be successful. But, how do you know whether or not it will be successful for your business?

Here are three questions to ask when considering a telecommuting policy:

1. Does Telecommuting Make Sense?

3 Questions to Ask When Considering a Telecommuting PolicyBefore you make the big leap, you must first determine if telecommuting is ideal for your company’s and employee’s needs. Employers must carefully consider if allowing employees to telecommute makes sense. When deciding, truthfully ask and answer these questions:

• Will offering a telecommuting program make my employees more efficient?

• Will it make them happier?

• Will telecommuting hurt my business by allowing employees to work from home?

However, if you’re still on the fence about letting your employees telecommute, consider the following:

• Employees who work remotely seem to be slightly more engaged than those who work in an office according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report.

• Productivity increase by an average of 9.5 to 13 percent per employee, and they report working more hours.

• Employees are much happier and more likely to stay with a company that allows them to work from home.

Overall, the feedback from companies and employees about telecommuting has been extremely positive. Take that into account when you’re making your decision.


2. Who is Eligible Within the Company?

Not everyone is capable of working remotely. Here a few things, according to Business News Daily, you should take into consideration when deciding whether certain employees should be allowed to telecommute:

• How comfortable is the employee with their position?

• How long has the employee been at the company or in their role?

• What has their job performance been like?

• How frequently should they be allowed to work from home?

Answering these questions will help you determine who is eligible and also help you identify any additional criteria you should use to determine if and when employees can work from home.


3. How Do I Create an Effective Telecommuting Policy?

If the benefit is offered, a formal policy should still be created for employees so expectations are clear. And, as your company grows, you will most likely need to change and edit the policy to ensure it continues to support collaboration in your business. Be sure to include these regulations in the policy:

• Expectations of schedule and availability.

• Primary communication methods.

• When it is acceptable to telecommute and when employees are expected to be in the office.

• Result if productivity is reduced.

• Insurance and security policies.

• When employees are eligible and what options they have.

Creating an effective policy will ensure there are no miscommunications and expectations are clear.


What Remote Workers Need to Be Successful

No matter what your policy looks like, one thing is certain: you must provide remote workers with the appropriate tools so they can perform their jobs effectively. These tools include shared drives, communications platforms and more. The most important tool in their arsenal, however, is an audio and video conferencing solution, which will support collaboration between employees, teams and departments. Invest in a quality solution to ensure connectivity and productivity.

To learn more about creating an effective remote work experience or improving one, read our article, “Improving Your Remote Work Experience”. For more information on best practices, view our infographic, Tips and Best Practices for Working Remotely.

Blog Series: The Future of Work Experiment

We’re living in a van, down by the river.Blog Series FOW 1

Okay, not really – We are living out of a van and there will be many rivers, but the whole thing is more organized than Chris Farley’s epic portrayal of the motivational speaker Matt Foley.

My wife, Jesse, and I, after several years of living and working in Denver, have decided to take a sabbatical before moving closer to our families in Michigan. We’ve been working on our “home” for the past year – a 1993 Volkswagen Eurovan Westfalia popup camper van named Gerty. We’ve brought her mechanics into the right decade, built a kitchen, and outfitted her with solar and auxiliary battery power to make her a true mobile live/work station. The goal is to live, explore, and occasionally work out of Gerty for the next few months while travelling all over the US and Canada. We are thrilled to be unplugged and to explore uninhibited by deadlines, calendar appointments, and mind-numbing meetings.

Having said that, this is also an exercise in exploring the outer limits of the future of work and mobility. I’ll be field testing new and innovative collaboration technologies to see how “mobile first” they really are. I’ll be reporting on the best practices for working from the road, how to best attain connectivity, what technology is working and which isn’t, and all the challenges I find along the way.

What’s the point, you might ask? Well, admittedly this isn’t the most practical exercise, for I don’t expect companies to line up to hire employees who live out of their van. However, the future of work is real and it’s already happening. It’s a melding of work and personal life. It’s working anywhere you are with whatever device you have on you. It’s flexibility, efficiency, higher productivity, and anything but lazy. My father-in-law, the late great Mike Fezzey, was once asked what his workplace philosophy was, and he said: “Allow the workplace to be an extension, not an interruption of our employees’ lives.” This idea could not be more relevant today. Employees churn out their best work when they are given the trust to work with a flexible schedule.

Stay tuned – it should be quite the adventure.

How the Modern Workplace is Transforming

In the past, the traditional workplace was characterized by the typical nine to five jobs where employees were expected to be in the office every Monday through Friday. Office life was separated from home life, and working from home was unheard of if not unfathomed. Needless to say, work environments were very restrictive and inflexible.

How the Modern Workplace is TransformingAs a result of advancements in technology and changes in workplace demographics, the traditional workplace is undergoing a huge transformation. At the heart of this transformation is the influx of millennials who are desperately trying to reshape the workplace into a flexible, creative work environment. Millennials believe that creativity and productivity is hindered by workspace restrictions, and they are actively pursuing businesses that are open-minded to workplace changes.

So, why should you care? By 2020, millennials will comprise 50% of the global workforce according to Wainhouse Research. For some, working a traditional nine to five job is desirable, but the majority of millennials do not fall into this category. In order for businesses to attract and retain talent, the workplace as they know it has to change.

With all of the resources we have available to us, including smartphones, collaboration technology, wireless Internet, etc., creating a flexible work environment is no longer a fantasy. These tools have changed where, how and when we work, allowing us to virtually work from anywhere, anytime.

The reality is that modern workplace is changing and you need to adapt in order to be competitive. However, many business owners have concerns about moving to an “uncontrolled” environment. Here are some ways you can ensure success while managing a flexible work environment:

1. Base incentives on performance instead of out-of-date metrics like being on time, number of sick days taken, seniority, etc. Focus on metrics that correlate with job competency.

2. Create individualized performance plans that focus on the strengths of the employee. Reassign work where the employee shows weakness based on performance, and have the job suit the individual instead of having the individual change to suit the job.

3. Invest in tools and technology to ensure your employees have the resources they need to be successful. A collaboration technology solution is key to keeping everyone connected whenever and wherever they are.

4. Help your employees design a friendly work environment at home or in the office. Be supportive of remote work environments by providing tips for making them successful.

These tips will help you transition into a flexible work environment as well as successfully maintain it.

To attract and keep quality talent, businesses have to face the reality that they need to be open to changes. The modern workplace is changing, and it’s important to keep up with the changes to remain competitive. To learn more about the workplace transformation, read our article, “Workplace Transformation: Are You Ready?” For more best practices for remote workers, view our infographic, “Tips and Best Practices for Remote Workers”, now.