Thursday, December 9, 2010

By The Numbers: How The Workforce Is Changing

In a post earlier this week, I wrote about work being the killer app of the Internet, arguing that the workplace of tomorrow is not going to be bound by space and time alone, because connected-ness brings ability to build distributed workforces. In order to better understand this, Incite conduced an online study on behalf ofGigaOM Pro and Skype. One of findings of the study: nearly two-thirds (62%) of companies surveyed had remote workers and over a third (34 percent) of those remote workers worked away from office – at client, customer or partner premises; at home or in public spaces. Clearly, we are in what Citrix Online President Brett Caine calls, a workshift.

The survey reached out to 1,000 technology empowered workers – 500 end users and 500 decision makers at businesses that ranged from small businesses to large corporations. As part of our Net:Work Conference coverage, we are sharing findings from the report:

The companies are adjusting to this new work reality.

  • More than half, at 57 percent, of firms allow flexible working hours, that fit with employees’ lives, rather than “standard office hours.”
  • Most employees, at 80 percent, appreciate flexible working as a means of balancing their lives.
  • Of those employees 65 percent feel a flexible working policy would be important to a future
    change of job.

The change in the workforce is bringing in new tools and processes to the work place, continuing the consumerisation of the enterprise IT.

  • In two-thirds of organizations, workers can bring their own personal technology into the workplace.
  • 41 percent can bring and use their own tools independently (without permission from their IT departments.)

This explains why the iPad has been such a major hit in the enterprise, much like tools like Google’s Mail and Apps. The survey revels that video and VoIP are going to be big applications going forward. It makes sense – we at GigaOM are constantly using Skype Video, Google Talk Video and Apple’s Facetime. Some interesting stats about workers who use video for work:

  • More than two-thirds at 68 percent experience richer and more productive communication with colleagues, clients and suppliers.
  • Most of those at 65 percent, say they collaborate better.
  • The majority also say they save time at 62 percent and money, at 56 percent.
  • Almost seven in ten at 69 percent want video to be available on a range of devices and locations not just fixed systems.

The change in the work patterns, however, has a detrimental impact as well.

  • A significant number of people at 42 percent agree the workplace is suffering from information overload.
  • While 35 percent of people blame email for this overload.

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