By Brendan McAravey, Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa at Citrix
The INRIX 2018 Global Traffic Scorecard highlights that Johannesburg was South Africa’s most congested city in 2018, with commuters sitting in traffic for roughly 119 hours a year. In addition, the rolling blackouts we experienced early this year could have cost the country as much as R5 billion a day, according to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, a civil-society group. These statistics highlight that if ever there was a need for a more agile workplace, it would be right now!
Slowly but surely, South African businesses are realising that to ensure high-productivity in the face of challenges like bad traffic and aging infrastructure, the traditional office has to change. Against this background, the concept of “work” in the digital economy must change; from a place where we go, to a thing that we do.
Enabling employees to work flexibly – from any location, at any time, and with any device - allows them to be more productive. Employers benefit from this increased productivity, as well as a more motivated workforce, resulting in a more resilient business, which relies on location-independent work in cases such as extreme traffic conditions, price of fuel, or simply a major political or sports event that could affect our work day.
Toward a More Agile Workspace Strategy
To establish a more agility-focused workspace strategy, enterprises should define business processes, to make sure both sides – employees and the company – benefit from more flexible work. Then they should restructure their work environment for as many lines of business as possible – such as IT, HR or real estate.
Ideally, this transition will find the balance between remote and on-site work. Regular on-site team meetings have proven important for team building, and they help off-site workers to feel well informed.
The next step is the deployment of an intelligent workspace solution. This gives employees access to all the apps, data, and other resources they need to work securely and location-independently with the device of their choice – ranging from company-owned or privately-owned mobile devices to home-office PCs or laptops.
A state-of-the-art digital workspace provides performance-enhanced connectivity via WiFi or cell-phone connection. It gives the IT team all the tools needed to optimise remote access while using machine learning to continuously monitor the environment for performance and security issues. It provides tools for quick, easy employee on- and off boarding as well as a user-friendly self-service app store. This way, employees can adapt their experience to their individual needs in a familiar, consumer-style way.
Lastly, companies should leverage their newly-achieved – or improved – work flexibility for their recruitment goals. In a time of dramatic skilled-labour shortage, being able to offer a state-of-the-art workplace is a huge advantage when looking for talent. Globally, many young high potentials even consider workspace flexibility a must-have when deciding which company to work for.
A workspace strategy that shifts the balance from the traditional office towards agile digital work brings multiple benefits for employers and employees. Remote work utilising intelligent workspaces not only boosts productivity and employee motivation, but also improves business resilience, making a company much more competitive in the war for talent.