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FCW : February 2014
Commentary | TOM SIMMONS TOM SIMMONS is area vice president for Citrix Systems' Public Sector. With budget restrictions remaining a harsh reality, government agen- cies are continuing their quest to stretch dollars as far as possible. In the process, some are taking a hard look at their work environments and rethinking their approach to of ce space. In particular, we re seeing a grow- ing adoption of exible, communal workspaces that in many cases per- manently eliminate assigned of ces and instead give employees the ability to work from anywhere at any time. Those new environments make work a thing you do, not just a place you go --- a concept that is already gaining traction in compa- nies around the world. Flexible workspaces free employ- ees from enclosed of ce walls, an assigned desk or a single location. Instead, those environments enable employees to work at the of ce, at home or while traveling. Such workspaces provide, on average, seven desks for every 10 of ce workers, according to a study Citrix Systems conducted last year. The survey of 1,900 senior IT decision- makers across industries found that organizations expect to reduce of ce space by 7 percent in the next two years and 16 percent by 2020. And if the private sector s suc- cess foreshadows the impact of exible work environments in the public sector, agencies can expect to see a quick and bene cial nan- cial return as a result of reduced real estate and supply costs. Fur- ther, exible workspaces can help agencies consolidate their data cen- ters, cut energy use and, above all, promote mobile work --- all critical areas of focus for the public sector. Flexible workspaces have also been shown to foster creativ- ity, encourage collaboration and improve morale. In a survey of more than 550 employees world- wide conducted by the nonpro t WorldatWork association, 64 per- cent of those who use a exible work program said the programs have a positive effect on engage- ment and 65 percent said they have a positive effect on motivation. Government agencies are begin- ning to embrace exible work- spaces, as evidenced by the General Services Administration s recently redesigned of ce that focuses on fostering collaboration. However, to achieve exible workspaces, agen- cies must also deploy the technol- ogy and policies to make exible work and mobile work successful and to ensure a top-of-the-line expe- rience for all employees. In addition, security remains a serious concern. As agencies diversify their work environments, the number of smartphones, laptop computers and tablet PCs con- necting to networks will continue to grow, so it is imperative that IT leaders take the necessary precau- tions to ensure that the networks and devices are secure. Desktop virtualization is the key to enabling access. Also important is a mobility management solu- tion that empowers employees to use their own devices and access applications, email and data from anywhere and at any time. Many IT professionals and analysts are turning to enterprise mobility man- agement --- which covers mobile devices, applications and data --- to enable connectivity while meeting security requirements. Through the use of powerful analytics, EMM enables administrators to audit devices, applications and network access so that IT teams can main- tain full control of devices, regard- less of an employee s location. If a user s device is broken or mis- placed, the IT team can automati- cally and quickly wipe the device to ensure the safety of the data. Jobs are no longer de ned by four walls but instead enable employees to work, collaborate and meet in a variety of locations and settings. Flexible workspaces offer an enticing win-win opportunity for public-sector organizations by pro- viding the ability to reduce opera- tional costs while giving employees more exibility. ■ Work: It's what you do, not where you do it In the ongoing quest to save money, many agencies are turning to exible, communal of ce space --- and are rede ning work in the process Flexible workspaces can help agencies consolidate their data centers, cut energy use and promote mobile work. 16 February 2014 FCW.COM
March 15, 2014