Study: The traditional office will soon be extinct

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It’s not news that mobility is one of the major driving forces in IT today. Smartphones and tablets continue to supplant traditional PCs as primary computing devices, as people are getting more done from wherever they happen to be. A new study from Aruba Networks found that the demand for mobile productivity also puts significant stress on IT personnel and budgets.

Aruba Networks conducted a survey of 1,000 IT professionals from around the world. The goal of the study was to learn more about how IT professionals are managing younger employees, dubbed "GenMobile" in the study. Aruba Networks also commissioned The Future Laboratory to conduct a separate, but related, study to examine what the workplace will look like in the near future. Combined, the studies are a good illustration of existing trends and challenges facing IT and a compass to help organizations plan for the rapid changes on the horizon.

One point that seems clear in both studies is that wireless connectivity is a business requirement. Businesses recognize that ubiquitous access to wireless connectivity leads to higher employee retention, more productivity, and greater cost savings. Aruba Networks also discovered, however, that there is a long way to go to achieve the goal of an all-wireless workplace for most businesses.

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The increased use of mobile technology means the end for the traditional office. 

Here are some of the key findings from the Managing GenMobile study:

  • 51 percent of respondents reported a rise in mobile/remote working last year
  • 77 percent saw an increase in GenMobile employees using mobile devices for work during the past year
  • Nearly 70 percent of IT professionals feel pressure to deliver improvements in mobile working
  • 71.1 percent of IT departments increased their investment in Wi-Fi, while another 46 percent were granted increased budgets for future mobility projects
  • 55.5 percent of companies surveyed globally actually encourage or have no policy banning the use of personal devices at work

What does this mean for the workplace? According to the report from The Future Laboratory, the term “office” will become obsolete in the coming years as we completely redefine where and how work gets done. The 9-to-5 worker sitting at a desk sitting in a cubicle is already a dying breed, and it will eventually become all but extinct as the modern workplace evolves into more of a shared workspace with flexible working arrangements that acts as more of a hub for workers on the go than an official “place of work.”

There will always be certain roles and specific tasks that either require some form of specialized equipment or simply demand that a person work onsite to get them done. The reality, though, is the vast majority of jobs in most organizations can be accomplished from virtually any PC or mobile device, from just about anywhere, as long as the right tools and services are put in place to facilitate that sort of mobile productivity.

The companies that understand and get ahead of the curve will have a strategic and competitive advantage over rivals who are slow to adapt and still shackle users to a traditional office culture.

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