Cloud working in 2020: five connected devices, one desk per two employees

25 Sep 2012

Dedicated desks per employee could soon be a thing of the past. A global survey by Citrix predicts European office workers will use on average five network connected devices during the working day by 2020 and that one desk will be shared by two workers.

This is down from three quarters of a desk per employee in 2010.

The research, conducted by Vanson-Bourne, reveals that as it becomes easier for workers to access corporate data from a number of devices and locations, the need for organisations to provide a dedicated desk per employee will disappear.

Those questioned expected to have just three-quarters of a desk per employee by the end of 2020, and on average large organisations said they were planning to have 7pc less workplace space within two years and 14pc less by 2020.

When split by sectors, the media, entertainment and leisure industries forecast the largest reduction in required office space, at just one desk for every two employees expected in 2020, down from three-quarters of a desk per employee in 2010.

Of those respondents who had already implemented a mobile working policy at their organisation, nearly half (48pc) said they had witnessed reductions in the cost of real estate as a result.

Strong business adoption of mobile workstyle predicted

Reducing overheads like rent is just one reason why the years between 2012 and 2020 will witness strong growth in the business adoption of mobile workstyles.

“Over the past 30 years we’ve already seen dramatic changes to the workplace,” said James Stevenson, area vice-president for UK, Ireland and South Africa at Citrix.“Now, with workers expecting to work flexibly, and businesses looking to embrace the full benefits of mobile working, the demise of the dedicated desk will be the next phase in the transformation of the office.”

In terms of which industries expected office workers to be using the most network-connected devices, media, entertainment and leisure again featured highly, with an average of six devices by 2020, while health, hardware and software expected to be using seven. Education was the lowest-ranking industry, predicting employees would be using just four network-connected devices in 2020.

“While there are obvious benefits to flexible working, IT strategy and implementation should not be overlooked, especially with the number of devices able to access corporate data on the rise. Ensuring that the appropriate governance measures are in place to protect confidential information and ensuring employee support for mobile working will be critical.”

Other reported benefits for firms adopting the mobile workstyle included:

·      More flexible, agile workplace (66pc)

·      Lower employee-related expense costs, such as travel (50pc)

·      Better able to attract top talent (39pc)

·      Better able to retain top talent (35pc)

·      Better business continuity (32pc)

Join Citrix Ireland country manager Grace O’Rourke Veitch and Ireland’s digital leaders who will gather to discuss cloud computing and the big data revolution at the Cloud Capital Forum on Friday, 23 November, at the Convention Centre Dublin

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years