Will the Office Become Extinct? Long Live Virtual Offices.
Is the office going the way of the dinosaur?
According to the Cisco Connected World Report, traditional office space seems to be making room to alternative workplace strategies. The survey reveals plenty about the state of officing today. The results lead me to consider how virtual office space fits into alternative workplace strategies in corporate America.
“The Cisco Connected World Report gives further insight into the future of the workplace and it is clear from the research findings that the desire among employees to be more mobile and flexible in their work lifestyles is extremely strong throughout the world—as strong as salary,” says Marie Hattar, vice president of Borderless Networks at Cisco.
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.
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.
“It is also evident that organizations need to embrace a borderless IT infrastructure to capture competitive advantage and increase employee satisfaction. The employee desire to be productive anytime, anywhere, using any device provides an opportunity to embrace the agility and flexibility provided through a Borderless Network Architecture," Hattar says.
The virtual office fits directly in this business trend, which is hardly new. Cisco has been tracking this for years and is itself an early adopter of telecommuting and other alternative workforce trends. That's one reason why Davinci Virtual has partnered with Cisco on the virtual office front to delivery WebEx. These and other virtual office technologies enable alternative workplace strategies.