Beating the Competition by Letting Employees Work from Anywhere
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Beating the Competition by Letting Employees Work from Anywhere

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Smart CEOs know employees are the engines that drive their businesses. When the workforce is operating on all cylinders, the company moves rapidly toward its goals. However, one mindset that has ...

Smart CEOs know employees are the engines that drive their businesses. When the workforce is operating on all cylinders, the company moves rapidly toward its goals. However, one mindset that has deterred many business owners from making the most of their employees’ contributions is the traditional notion that everyone must operate from the mother ship. But that philosophy is gradually being dismantled.

Working from coffeehouses to kitchen tables, a new generation is challenging the way people work. By allowing employees to occasionally float away from their cubicles, businesses are seeing big boosts in productivity and creating a major competitive edge.

However, technical and philosophical challenges remain. For example, can desk-bound workers operate remotely without expensive equipment investments? Is there an easy way to ensure employees are actually working while away from their desks?

To meet these challenges, many businesses are turning to Web-based remote-access solutions. Designed to help employees securely access their desktop computers from anywhere, businesses are adopting this technology to improve employee productivity and gain a competitive advantage — all without any equipment investments. This white paper will examine the latest workplace trends and reveal the many advantages of empowering employees with Web-based remote access.

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Beating the Competition by Letting Employees Work from Anywhere Beating the Competition by Letting Employees Work from Anywhere Presentation Transcript

  • Beating the Competition by Letting Employees Work from Anywhere Enhancing Productivity and Profitability with Web-Based Remote Access1
  • Smart CEOs know employees are the engines that drive their businesses. When the workforce is operating on all cylinders, the company moves rapidly toward its goals. However, one mindset that has deterred many business owners from making the most of their employees’ contributions is the traditional notion that everyone must operate from the mother ship. But that philosophy is gradually being dismantled. Working from coffeehouses to kitchen tables, a new generation is challenging the way people work. By allowing employees to occasionally float away from their cubicles, businesses are seeing big boosts in productivity and creating a major competitive edge. However, technical and philosophical challenges remain. For example, can desk-bound workers operate remotely without expensive equipment investments? Is there an easy way to ensure employees are actually working while away from their desks? To meet these challenges, many businesses are turning to Web-based remote-access solutions. Designed to help employees securely access their desktop computers from anywhere, businesses are adopting this technology to improve employee productivity and gain a competitive advantage — all without any equipment investments. This white paper will examine the latest workplace trends and reveal the many advantages of empowering employees with Web-based remote access. Trends Impacting the Workforce The trends might be shocking to business owners, but the reality is that employees reward a little freedom with greater workplace dedication. For example, out-of-office workers are 15 percent more productive than their in-office counterparts and “they almost always give back more than 50 percent of the time they save by not commuting,” found a2
  • Work Design Collaborative study.1 For businesses that allow their employees to telecommute — either part-time or full- time — a significant 67 percent experience greater worker productivity, according to a Computing Technology Industry Association study.2 The ability to occasionally work remotely is greatly valued by employees, more so than stock options and onsite childcare, found a national study.3 Interestingly, a significant 43 percent of working moms would take a pay cut if they could spend more time with their children. One in three said they’d give up 10 percent of their salaries for the opportunity, according to CareerBuilder.com.4 “Knowledge workers today want — no, demand — extensive control over where and when they work. And flexible work programs — enabling them to get their work done from wherever they are or want to be, and on their schedule — gives them exactly the kind of control they are looking for,” stated a recent study.5 1 Ware, J. & Grantham, C. (2008). Future of Work. Flexible work: Rhetoric and reality. 2 Krasne, A. (December 18, 2008). PC World. Manage telecommuters without losing your mind. 3 (December 18, 2007). Citrix. Web commuting and the American workforce. 4 (May 7, 2008). CareerBuilder.com. Forty-three percent of working moms would take a pay cut to spend more time with their kids, CareerBuilder.com’s annual Mother’s Day survey finds. 5 Ware, J. & Grantham, C. (2008). Future of Work. Flexible work: Rhetoric and reality.3
  • The Rising Tide of Occasionally Mobile Workers Employees are working while absent now more than ever. “As many as 22 million people are already working one or more days a week in nontraditional locations,” according to a paper on the future of work.6 Nearly one in four American workers regularly work from home or another offsite location, another U.S.-based study found.7 IDC predicts more than 1 billion workers worldwide will have some level of mobility by 2011.8 IDC also notes that security concerns related to employees traveling with laptops will spur the adoption of new solutions. In the United States, the mobile workforce reached an astonishing 68 percent in 2006 and is expected to grow to 73 percent by 2011, according to IDC.9 With more and more workers yearning to work from anywhere, a shift is taking place in corporate America. “There is an increasing pressure for companies to provide work/life balance programs for workers, which often allow for more productivity and mobility in their schedules. In addition, the generation that is entering the workforce now expects to be able to have some level of mobility in their jobs,” stated IDC.10 6 Ibid. 7 (December 18, 2007). Citrix. Web commuting and the American workforce. 8 IDC, Worldwide remote access services software 2007-2011 forecast and 2006 vendor shares, Doc # 210075, December 2007. 9 IDC, Worldwide mobile worker population 2007-2011 forecast, Doc # 209813, December 2007. 10 Ibid.4
  • Challenges of a Disconnected Workforce For many businesses, when employees are out of the office, they’re fully disconnected from the business. This means workers aren’t able to add any value, customers aren’t getting serviced and productivity slows. Employees are constantly absent for a variety of reasons, including being out sick, on maternity leave, vacationing, car trouble, trapped at home due to bad weather, and the list goes on. When those workers cannot gain access to their computers, they cannot work and the business suffers. Most companies write off these problems as an everyday cost of doing business. However, what if there were an easy way to get those disconnected employees working? The slumping economy is also forcing many CEOs to examine the productivity of their entire workforce. Doing more with an existing or shrinking workforce is becoming a necessity. One area many businesses are examining is employee commute time. For example, by allowing employees to work remotely a single day each week, businesses are significantly improving productivity — some by as much as 15 percent. The main contributor is the eliminated commute time, according to a Computing Technology Industry Association study.11 Those gained hours often translate into more work time for employees. For businesses charging clients based on billable hours, this can also result in a significant increase in revenue. Additionally, not all employees are productive during the traditional 9-to-5 work schedule. Many are at their best early in the morning or late in the evening. However, not being able to work because they’re away from their desks means a missed opportunity for the business. 11 Krasne, A. (December 18, 2008). PC World. Manage telecommuters without losing your mind.5
  • Fortunately, remote-access technology overcomes these challenges. Motivating and Retaining Talent As the demand for more workplace freedom grows, businesses will need to accommodate employees. Clearly, the younger generation enters the workforce expecting a level of workplace freedom. However, even Baby Boomers place a high value on time with grandkids and other activities. Many working parents also need to pick up their children from school. When employees feel a company has no interest in their personal well-being, the chances they’ll look elsewhere for employment increase. By allowing employees to continue their work from home or another location, businesses accommodate the lifestyles of their workers. This not only increases worker loyalty, it also helps reduce burnout. Keeping great employees onboard also improves the long-term success of the company.6
  • The Tortoise Generally Loses In today’s fast-moving business world, the quick responder always comes out ahead of the slow-moving business. Critical decisions often hinge on having quick access to the right people and the right information. For example, a salesperson on the road who can only check email and not access critical business systems could easily lose out to a more agile competitor. Or consider the manager who’s traveling and cannot make quick budgetary decisions while a major marketing opportunity slips by. In a study by the Work Design Collaborative, two of the biggest challenges faced by remote workers are accessing personal work files and accessing company servers.12 When key employees’ hands are tied because they’re away from their office computers, major opportunities can quickly turn cold. A brief examination of the history of employees working remotely provides further insight. Brief History of Workers Going Mobile Technology has been a key enabler to the mass exodus of employees from the corporate environment. Prior to 1990, business travelers could access corporate systems using slow dial-up modems. Low bandwidth connections meant slow data transfers and high long-distance bills. As the Internet took off in the mid-1990s, businesses began using these public connections to gain access to corporate systems without long-distance bills. By 2000, many businesses were leveraging VPN software to punch holes in the corporate firewalls. However, creating 12 Grantham, C. & Ware, J. (August 26, 2008). Work Design Collaborative. The future of work.7
  • secure connections meant employees needed to be issued computers with preinstalled VPN software, creating a big burden for the IT department. Configuring VPNs on home computers quickly became cost-prohibitive and created security risks. By about 2003, public access PCs and kiosks had become popular in Internet cafés, libraries, airports and other locations. However, installing VPN software on these computers was not an option. As the speed of Internet connections continued to increase and the cost of personal computers dropped, more employees had their own powerful computers that remained strictly for personal use. By 2006, technology that allowed people to access and control their computers using a standard Web browser had become more commonly accepted. This opened the possibility for employees to access their work-based desktop remotely. These technologies continued to evolve. “Today’s technologies make it quite literally unnecessary to ‘go’ to work to get work done… It’s a whole lot cheaper and faster to move ‘bits’ than ‘butts,’” stated a Future of Work report.13 The technology to make remote work economically feasible had finally come of age. The Next Step: Web-based Remote Access Designed to empower the occasionally remote worker, motivate employees and make businesses more responsive, Web- based remote-access solutions are transforming the way businesses operate. Now employees can remotely access their workplace computers from anywhere on the Internet using only a Web browser. 13 Ware, J. & Grantham, C. (2008). Future of Work. Flexible work: Rhetoric and reality.8
  • Literally extending the full functionality of an employee’s desktop to any home PC, laptop or public access kiosk, now that employee can operate as if he or she were physically sitting in the office (see Figure 1). All email, files, applications and internal systems are readily accessible, yet secured with the highest levels of encryption. Figure 1: An employee can take control of his or her office PC, editing files and accessing systems that normally would require being physically at his or her place of employment. Ideal for the employee who needs to occasionally get out of the office for personal reasons, those who prefer working late at night or for people who are trapped at home or in an airport due to bad weather, these solutions allow employees to carry on with their work wherever they are.9
  • For example, consider a vice president of engineering who is at home with a sick child. An urgent issue comes up with one of his new projects. He simply logs into his workstation from his home computer and immediately addresses the situation while still caring for his ailing daughter. Uniquely different than VPNs, Web-based remote-access solutions do not require company-issued laptops, special hardware configuration or firewall alternatives. There’s nothing complicated that must be installed or maintained. These solutions are so easy to use that no training is required. If employees know how to operate their office PCs, then they’ll know how to work with Web-based remote-access solutions. Another major advantage is that all data remains on the workplace computer. Thus, if an employee’s personal laptop is stolen, no critical company secrets are compromised because they reside safely within the corporate walls.10
  • The Many Benefits of Web-Based Remote-Access Solutions Web-based remote-access solutions provide businesses many significant advantages, including: • Helps enhance employee productivity by providing anywhere, anytime access to their desktops • Increases worker availability by enabling them to work from flexible locations that eliminate commute times • Improves corporate efficiency and ultimately revenue by achieving more with the existing workforce • Enables the workforce to continuously produce, providing a major competitive advantage • Enhances employee morale by accommodating their various work habits • Reduces office fatigue by freeing employees to continue working away from their desks • Allows businesses to extend the radius of hiring talent by decoupling distance limitations from the ability to produce • Attracts younger talent who are interested in working in flexible environments • Helps employees address life issues, such as sick children, while still enabling them to perform What to Look For in a Web-Based Remote-Access Solution When shopping for a Web-based remote-access solution, consider the following critical requirements: • Easy for employees to use: Look for a solution that is intuitive and does not require any worker training. No special software should need to be preconfigured on the remote computer. • Excellent reliability: Only work with solution providers that have the most robust and proven solutions to ensure employees can always access their desktops when they need to. The service provider should have redundant data centers located across the globe to accommodate service spikes and unplanned outages.11
  • • Highly secure: The best solutions provide a variety of security options, including end-to-end encryption and two- factor authentication. Ask if the solution is trusted and used by government agencies. • Effortless deployment on employee desktops: Seek a solution that does not require IT to physically install software on each PC or alter firewall settings. Rather, the solution should automate the deployment and have little or no ongoing IT administration. • Reporting and auditing: The ideal solution should empower management to analyze which employees are accessing their desktops and when. A historical record should be stored for each employee to track how they spend their time away from the office and to meet regulatory and compliance requirements. • Experience with remote access: Only work with a company that has extensive experience providing remote- access solutions. Look for a business that has had at least eight years of industry experience and has proven technology implemented across a wide range of environments. • On-demand scaling: Look for a solution that allows easy expansion and scalability. This means that a sample group of employees can test the solution and it can be easily deployed to the entire workforce without any significant effort. • No onsite hardware: Seek a solution that is fully hosted, eliminating any IT burden and ensuring all system updates happen at no additional charge. • 24-hour live support: Work with a company that provides 24-hour live support for employees and offers a dedicated account manager for corporate administrators.12
  • The GoToMyPC® Corporate Advantage Designed to empower employees to work from anywhere, Citrix® GoToMyPC® Corporate is helping businesses improve employee productivity, become more agile and retain talent. Awarded CNET’s Editor’s Choice Gold Award, the solution is the market leader because of its ease of use and reliability. Designed to meet all the requirements outlined in this paper, GoToMyPC Corporate is used by businesses of all sizes, including Best Buy, the City of Santa Barbara and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For a FREE evaluation of GoToMyPC Corporate or to learn more about Web-based remote access, please visit www.GoToMyPC.com/compete or call 1-888-646-0016. If you’re calling from outside the United States, please call +1-805-690-5780. © 2009 Citrix Online, LLC. All rights reserved. Citrix® is a registered trademark of Citrix Systems, Inc., in the United States and other countries.13