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Advances in technology and flexible spaces, give rise to the 'anywhere worker'

HR Editorial , 04 May 2012

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UK businesses are increasingly driven by ‘anywhere employees’, overcoming the traditional, fixed and office-centric workplace, according to a study of remote working by Siemens Enterprise Communications.

The research revealed that by using advances in communications, staff can work on the move, in the office or at home.

The survey of 1,000 staff shows that in the UK, 85% of communication devices used for team collaboration - smart phones, laptops and mobile phones - are outside the company headquarters.

This highlights how employees are making delivery of work from different locations across different platforms a reality. These employees are now able to weave together face-to-face meetings, team collaborations and creative tasks, using platforms such as unified communications (UC).

While staff have previously struggled to manage email, mobile, landline and social media, they now have the flexible and collaborative tools to do this seamlessly, irrespective of location or customers' needs. The multi-tasking and multi-media workforce will be further empowered by organisations' growing utilisation of cloud technology.

Forty per cent of UK businesses have reported cloud deployment plans this year, together with improved collaborative technologies providing different communications options being adopted by the vast majority of businesses. In addition, key applications are on the agenda such as web collaboration (92%) and video conferencing (88%).

With collaborative working, the reliance on the head office or any other fixed offices appears to be over. Companies have flexible spaces to accommodate hot desking, supporting plans to reduce the property estate, aligning IT to real business needs and providing more flexible working choices.

The findings also suggest that businesses and the way they interact are increasingly devolved. The communications revolution, coupled with the promise that the cloud brings, provides the environment for staff in and outside the HQ to become mobilised and more involved in decision-making as well as increasing overall productivity.

Rob Keenan, head of UK portfolio management, deployment readiness management at Siemens Enterprise Communications, said: "The rise of the anywhere employee has meant the end of the office worker. Business tools, such as UC, are reshaping the way organisations collaborate and are helping deliver on the previously-too-difficult promise of enhanced communication. More than ever, work isn't where you go, it's what you do."

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One can but dream...

Gareth Jones 04 May 2012

Interesting report but I don't think it represents reality. To say the days of the office worker are over and imply that the "anywhere worker" is already the norm is nonsense. Most organisations are still working on the basis that absence from the desk has to be accounted for, especially if you are outside of the office. And whilst the article talks about collaborative tools, in the main this is email or remote network access. Again, organisations are resisting the movement towards collaboration internally and the technology that enables it because they fear losing control. Dig this piece out in 10 years and lets see if it's more accurate then.

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