Australian SMBs increasingly adopting flexible workforce policies: Citrix

Communication vendor finds local businesses are more progressive with mobility than other countries

Half of Australia's SMBs are offering flexible workforce policies to all staff, a Citrix study has found.

The Global Small Business Consumerisation of IT survey discovered that Australian businesses are ahead of the curve in this regard, as 44 per cent of SMBs worldwide are doing the same.

Thirty-eight per cent of Australian SMBs admitted to employee pressure to introduce flexible working, which again is higher than the 29 per cent worldwide number.

Citrix Online Services division senior vice-president and general manager, Brett Caine, said it is encouraging to see the demand for flexible work continuing to grow.

“It’s great to see a ‘work anywhere, with anyone’ environment delivering such big improvements in productivity, most obviously in North America and Australia,” he said.

Overall, Caine said the findings in the 2013 survey paint a very different picture of the SMB environment compared a similar study carried out two years earlier.

For one, there is a strong driver to work “wherever, whenever and however we choose”.

“The real value of social collaboration lies in enabling greater creativity and innovation, by allowing those inside and outside the company to work better together, serving customers, creating value and improving the quality of life,” he said.

Office distraction

However, the report found that security of devices and data remains a key worry for 34 per cent of local SMBs when it comes to using personal devices, particularly in allowing application and document downloads.

“It’s a concern that two-thirds of businesses overall still don’t have the tools and processes to control remote access to their corporate networks,” Caine said.

Despite the hype around the benefits of BYOD, the report discovered that 39 per cent of Australian SMBs are worried that employees will be distracted during working hours when using their phones for personal purposes.

Twenty per cent of SMBs worldwide saw no productivity gains as a result of mobile working, though Australian businesses are more optimistic at 14 per cent.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.