by October 28, 2010 0 comments

Cisco recently announced the results of an international workplace study that revealed some interesting real-life insights into the expectations, demands, and behavior of the global workforce that is influencing the way information is accessed and how business communications are changing. The study commissioned by Cisco, involved surveys of 2,600 workers and IT professionals in 13 countries (including India) and conducted by InsightExpress, a third-party market research firm based in the United States.

Major Findings

No need to be in the office to be productive?

Three of every five employees (60 percent) 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 percent) said they did not need to be in the office to be productive. This sentiment was extremely prevalent in China (81 percent) and Brazil (76 percent) as well.

IT should allow work-force to use any device to access corporate networks

Two of every three employees surveyed (66 percent) 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 percent) 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.

How important is flexibility to work from anywhere?

Employees also feel strongly about having the flexibility to work anywhere that it would dictate their company loyalty (13 percent), choice of jobs (12 percent), and morale (9 percent). For example, two of three employees worldwide (66 percent) 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 percent), despite economic woes the past couple years.

Can Businesses Meet Employee Needs?

Almost half of the IT respondents (45 percent) said they are not prepared, both 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 percent), budget (34 percent), and staff expertise (17 percent) 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 percent) felt IT was the obstacle to a more flexible work style.

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