Guest Post: Breaking Down Mobility Barriers in Canada

By: Michael Murphy, VP & Country Manager, Citrix Canada

As the digital transformation continues to impact all aspects of our lives, there is none more significant than the workplace transformation taking place here in Canada. Employees are craving the flexibility and work-life balance that remote work allows. Time and again, research has shown that mobility increases employee retention, encourages productivity and drives business growth – a win-win for all parties if enterprise mobility initiatives are implemented correctly. But, while employees will reap the rewards of mobility, it’s up to the IT department to make sure it happens – a task that’s often easier said than done.

Citrix Canada published Enabling the Remote Workforce in Canada this year, which surveyed IT decision makers across Canada and looked at mobility trends. The findings uncovered an interesting disparity between IT decision maker perceptions and the actual benefits of mobility itself. You may recall the colourful infographic that showed these interesting statistics in a previous post, but let’s dive deeper into some of the roadblocks that exist and how mobility can impact a company’s bottom line.

Roadblocks to embracing mobility

Though it seems like a simple concept it’s important to understand what mobility is defined as, first and foremost. The survey found the majority of IT decision makers (83%) considered enterprise mobility as employees having the basic ability to send and receive emails. While this may meet the needs and wants of some companies, true mobility offers much more; minimizing restrictions so that employees can do their jobs successfully beyond the four walls of a traditional office. This means providing employees with secure access to essential applications and data from anywhere at any time providing a seamless user experience, and allowing for collaboration.

There is also a disconnect in understanding what it takes for mobility to be successfully adopted. In order for remote work policies to actually work, companies need to have a strong mobile strategy and the proper infrastructure in place, allowing employees to securely access the files they need, from anywhere, at any time. While 84% of IT decision makers report having employees that work remotely, two in five of those decisions makers admit that their company does not have a comprehensive mobility strategy in place. Remote work cannot function properly unless a robust strategy is in place, outlining rules and regulations, addressing impending culture change, and clearly identifying expectations on deadlines and work hours.

Nearly one-third of IT decision makers (32%) believe that remote work is a passing trend – a dangerous and short-sighted school of thought. In order for a mobile strategy to work, the IT team responsible for enabling the technology needs to believe in it and make it a driving priority. By dismissing mobility, companies can put themselves at risk of losing out on top talent, particularly since employees are ready and willing to fight for control over when and where they work (nearly 20% said they would take a new job if they were able to work remotely twice a week).

Another major barrier hindering the successful adoption of a mobile workplace is the perceived lack of security of company data and shared files. This concern is warranted if companies lack the proper technologies and policies required, however, a comprehensive strategy in combination with the right technological infrastructure can create a secure mobile workspace.

While all of these barriers can be challenging to surpass, the benefits far outweigh the barriers.

Impacting the Bottom Line

While there’s no doubt employees crave flexibility – an overwhelming majority (96%) want jobs that provide a healthy work-life balance – there are benefits that directly impact the overall business. The survey found that 62% of IT decisions makers say the biggest benefit their organization experienced is increased productivity. By providing employees with the opportunity to work remotely, they can work in a way that best suits their preferences and lifestyle which, in turn, contributes to improved employee retention.

Furthermore, in today’s economy more Canadians are looking to find balance and streamline their expenses. By providing the flexibility for employees to work remotely, Canadians can save time and money on traveling to the office, allowing them to spend more quality time with family.

In the survey, Canadian IT decision makers also cited that other benefits of mobility include:

  • improved business continuity (46%)
  • increased employee motivation (35%),
  • improved ability to attract top talent (32%)

Interestingly, companies with revenue greater than $10M have more employees working remotely – 91% compared to 80%. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to an article in Harvard Business Review by Nathaniel Koloc, co-founder and CEO of ReWork, “Companies that officially allow employees to work remotely at least three times per month were more likely to report revenue growth of 10% or more within the last year, compared to firms without such policies.”Canadian businesses are inclined to agree; an overwhelming majority of 95% agree that mobility is integral to the competitiveness of their business.

Despite barriers, remote work is here to stay and is expected to continue to grow. Now more than ever, it is important that companies embrace mobility and continue to evolve with the workplace transformation.

 

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