At least 70% of South African knowledge workers are now regularly working outside of the office, while 75% of workers are using their own personal computing device at work, according to the “Future of the Workplace”, a survey of more than 100 CIOs and information workers undertaken by Citrix Systems in May and June this year.
With remote working becoming ever-more popular, the findings indicate that laptops (83%) and smartphones (73%) are the most used devices when travelling and working away from the office. Tablet devices are still a growing market, with only 11% of knowledge workers using the devices outside of the office.
“These findings are a good indication that the concept of flexible working is gaining real traction,” says Sean Wainer, country manager of Citrix Systems South Africa. “But it’s also an indication that conditions are shifting within the corporate and enterprise environment around driving and enabling greater productivity.”
With 71% of respondents affirming that the flexibility to work anywhere, anytime makes them more productive than if they were only able to work in the office, 54% of respondents claim to work outside of the office for one to two full days a week. Overall, 92% of respondents said that working remotely is now completely acceptable at their organisation, implying a considerable shift in knowledge worker and organisational attitudes in South Africa.
“The impact of the consumerisation of IT on the working environment has gained traction over the last 18 months. We now have the kind of technologies that can support virtual and flexible working in a secure and simple way,” says Wainer. “And the benefits of desktop virtualisation can be leveraged into the enterprise as more and more end users look to be mobile and work flexibly.”
Of those that bring their own device to work, 58% manage the device and install new apps themselves, indicating the arrival of the “self-service” era. Fifty six percent of respondents have two devices, such as laptops, tablets or smartphones that they use daily and 25% indicate they have three devices that they use daily.
The technology shift seems to be coming from the most senior levels too. Sixty six percent of the respondents see the IT executives/C-level and SVPs as the first to bring consumer devices (like the iPad, iPhone or other smartphones) into the enterprise for everyday work.
“This is a very different picture from the ‘old’ traditional IT department that controlled the hardware and software of the entire organisation. The challenge for IT to deliver technology within the boundaries of corporate governance and control with the flexibility needed by end users is real. IT departments need a new way to approach their IT services provisioning. Desktop virtualisation is one way they can enable this, plus have the added benefit of enabling a more productive working force,” says Wainer.