Sunday, March 3, 2024

The Future of Work: Who Needs an Office?

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The modern era of connected mobile clients and remote access has changed the way people around the world work. A new global study sponsored by Cisco of 2,600 workers, split between IT managers and enterprise users, reveals that the 60 percent of respondents no longer feel that they have to be in the office to be productive.

The shift to a mobile connected workforce also has had an impact on employee attitudes about work itself, according to the study. Two-thirds of employees expect to be able to use any device they want to access their corporate networks. The changing world of work isn’t just about attitudes; it’s also about technology enabling new modalities for work.

“If you asked people ten years ago if they wanted to work in more mobile and flexible ways, many would have said yes,” Marie Hattar, vice president of marketing for Cisco’s Borderless Networks division, told “I think it’s safe to say that now with the level of technology we have, the whole concept of a traditional office environment is no longer critical. Today we do have mobile and borderless networking technology, so it is realistic that you can work from anywhere.”

Yet having that additional flexibility of not needing to be in an office doesn’t mean that employees are working less hours. According to the study, 45 percent of respondent that were able to access their networks remotely are actually working two or three more hours a day.

From a compensation point of view, the ability to work remotely is not seen as being a perk, but rather as a necessity by many workers around the world.

“One of the more interesting findings of the entire study is that salary is not the overriding factor in job choice anymore,” Hattar said. Work flexibility is just as important.

According to the study’s findings, 66 percent of respondents would accept a lower paying job with more flexibility than a higher paying job with limited flexibility.

From an IT organization perspective, the Cisco study found that there are some critical challenges that still need to be solved. Security remains an issue with 26 percent of IT respondents noting that staff within their organizations had lost devices in the last twelve months. 45 percent of IT respondents also reported that their organizations don’t have a proper policy in place to deal with the emerging mobile workforce.

Hattar noted that overall the study highlights that more education needs to happen as workplace habits continue to become more mobile. Cisco has sponsored similar types of remote worker studiesin the past as well, which have also shown security to be a gap that needs to be addressed.

“Technology is a good part of the battle, but it doesn’t address the whole battle, ” Hattar said. “There still continues to be the need for better education.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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