Mobility re-imagined: The end of work as we know it?

Today’s uncertain marketplace is challenging the traditional role of CIO and technology leader. No longer simply guardians of the back-office, these roles are now positioned at the forefront of innovation as architects of real business change.

In our global, connected and disruptive world, many companies would struggle to compete without the CIO’s vision and practical experience.

Mobility is recognised as an important part of every modern business strategy. Yet it often involves ever-shifting goal posts. Just when a business has outlined their latest mobile strategy, another product or service is launched, often forcing them back to square one!

Faced with today’s shifting market forces, changing workstyles and innovative transformational technology, businesses cannot ignore mobility without risking the loss of their market share.

Our digital society

Technology has become a central foundation around which policies are created. Only consider Chancellor George Osborne’s 2016 budget: the word “digital” was included 39 times while “broadband” received 10 mentions and even “big data” was referenced.

The increasing prevalence of topics like mobility on the political agenda reflects the way in which technology is starting to transform all areas of public life. IT is moving from its historical position as the engine behind great services to become the means for delivery and improvement of critical services online. This takes many forms – from instant access online education to digital healthcare and the development of a paperless NHS – and is continuing to branch into new areas.

Today digital is the new driver for innovation in society. Increasingly, innovative ideas are created in coffee shops – while boardrooms struggle to catch up. Challenging the conventional interpretation of employee mobility is now the key to unlocking the true potential of flexible working.

Beyond improving profits, incorporating mobility at the heart of a business strategy also dramatically transforms employees’ lives.

The end of work as we know it

The concept of work as we know it is undergoing a huge change. Recent research from Citrix, in collaboration with The Work Foundation, revealed that we are on the verge of a flexible working ‘tipping point’: from 2016, working away from the office will become more common than the traditional 9-5 ‘at a desk’ routine. A third of Brits are already leading this charge, regularly completing work at home and ‘on the go’, choosing working hours to fit around their personal lives instead of adapting their lives to conform with their work schedule.

Technology has enabled this change, allowing employees to choose how and when they work, simultaneously revolutionising entire organisations.

However, mobility goes beyond shifting workstyles. It allows organisations to access a new talent pool and transform their workforce. If we decentralise the corporate work culture, professionals seeking work and climbing the career ladder will be faced with a far greater section of work options while also becoming less reliant on urban infrastructure, reducing the overall burden on this system.

In addition, those who might struggle with traditional working hours are offered more options through mobility. From the long-term sick, parents fitting work around childcare or those with a disability which prevents them getting into the office each day, mobility provides greater access to a career.

Enabling a more flexible work culture – while ending the traditional demands of office facetime – can ensure that no one is prevented from securing a job and working productively. However, decentralising the corporate work culture will require us to break through some significant cultural barriers, including:

  • Ensuring that employees understand flexible working doesn’t equate to working longer: It is instead about using time more effectively to increase productivity
  • Cultivating a culture in which mobile working doesn’t prevent employees from working as a team: Everyone needs advice and support from colleagues every now and then. Flexible working does not require employees to exclude themselves from the wider organisation and lose out on opportunities for collaboration and positive change
  • Creating a more productive and balanced workforce through strong leadership: Expectations must be changed so the focus is on delivery, productivity and trust instead of visible time spent in the office

If businesses decentralise work culture and re-imagine mobility, they can encourage more diverse workforces while accelerating equality and exciting opportunities for everyone.

Every member of the C-suite should consider what their business could look like if steps were taken to fully embrace mobility.

Jacqueline de Rojas, area vice president for northern Europe at Citrix

Image source: Shutterstock/Chinnapong