Organisations looking to increase productivity and make significant gains in innovation will need to prepare for a future workplace designed around activity-based working (ABW), according to research conducted by UXC Connect and Tech Research Asia.
The joint survey of 260 individuals in sales, IT executives and knowledge management roles across Australia showed that mobility that meets end-user needs will be the biggest factor affecting productivity, efficiency and innovation.
Activity-based working is where an employee does not own a desk or workspace, but shares a variety of different workspaces with colleagues depending on the activity or project. The results from the Enabling the Future Workplace report, show that 75% of employees who have experienced ABW report feeling more positive about working for their company. More than 95% would not go back to old ways of working and 66% believe they are more effective in their roles.
“Enabling the Future Workplace found that mobility and collaboration lift productivity, and those organisations can expect a gain of up to an hour per employee per day via a true anywhere, anytime work approach,” said Ian Poole, CEO of UXC Connect.
UXC recommends three areas where ICT departments could support ABW:
1. Ubiquitous wireless connectivity
Smart mobile devices and new workplace technologies have created the concept of the always-connected employee or consumer, yet the reality for many is different. Only 70% of smartphone users surveyed say they can connect whenever they want to.
“Project success doesn’t start with the device, it starts with the network,” Poole noted. “According to those surveyed, wireless infrastructure was the most critical factor for a successful ABW deployment, yet many organisations fail to provide reliable network connectivity.”
Providing support to employees on both personal and business devices is critical, yet more than 50% of employees surveyed say they regularly use their own device at work, regardless of company approval.
The real benefits from enterprise mobility will come from mobilising workflows and communications. Seven in 10 employees surveyed said the inclusion of mobile solutions (not just devices or apps) significantly improves the ability to achieve their goals. More than 50% expect to work in a mobile environment within the next year.
Poole said: “It is important for IT leaders to step up to ensure the processes and communications pertinent to critical roles are mobilised, and employees aren’t just left to their own devices, literally. The complexity of the workplace demands the ability to mix, match and tailor workplace communications to best meet rapidly-changing requirements.”
Unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) was identified as one of the top three technology solutions critical to successful project deployments, according to the research results.
Allowing employees to efficiently communicate and collaborate with each other (and external clients) is critical to ensure improved productivity and also to stimulate innovation. It is important that this collaboration happens across all work styles, job types and customer channels present within an organisation.
The UC&C solution also needs to be flexible enough to scale up and down as required by market swings, business continuity and disaster recovery needs, as well as geographic expansion.
“Companies should consider adopting flexible work policies like activity-based working—anywhere, anytime working—and underpin this with solutions like UC&C and ubiquitous WiFi, to allow connectivity through the cloud via mobility solutions,” said Poole.
“Companies need to connect employees in a future workplace that is defined by multiples: multiple work styles, multiple devices, multiple applications and multiple ways of collaborating.”