The Workforce is Changing – Shouldn’t IT Policy?
Today, Cisco released the second set of results from its Connected World Report, a global study that looks at employee lifestyles, the importance users place on anytime, anywhere access and how important mobility and flexibility are to workers. A key take-away from the results is that mobility is definitely going mainstream, and IT policy makers should be prepared to accomodate it. Through additional analysis of the survey results, Cisco has discovered more interesting findings about the relationship between corporate IT policies and users; chiefly, as workers become more mobile and distributed, there is a major disconnect between IT policy and worker behavior.
It may not seem too shocking that more than two-thirds of workers believe their company’s IT policies could be improved, but it may surprise you that 41% (two in five) of respondents admitted to actually breaking those policies to meet their needs. Why do workers “go rogue”? Are they unaware of the policies their organizations put in place or are the policies simply not enforced by IT?
The survey, which included 2,600 workers and IT professionals in 13 countries, revealed that while 82% of companies do have IT policies, about one in four employees, or 24% don’t realize they exist. An additional 23% claimed their company did not have a policy on acceptable mobile device usage. For those employees who were aware of an IT policy in their organization, 35% said their IT department does not provide ample rationale for their policy.
Clearly, the confusion surrounding IT policies – whether or not they exist and why they are there – is contributing to worker apathy about – and in many cases, a lack of adherence to – these policies. When combined with an increased desire for workplace flexibility and mobility, it’s no wonder that users and IT are experiencing a serious disconnect.
Additional findings about IT policies and how users view them included the following:
- Two of every three employees (64 percent) believe their IT teams and companies should allow social media use during work hours with work devices, citing work-life balance as a key reason, particularly because many of them can work in a mobile, distributed fashion and put in longer hours as a result.
- Use of personal devices like iPads and iPhones is also restricted to some degree. Globally, almost one in five (18 percent) employees is not allowed to use their iPods at work, and almost one in five (18 percent) is restricted from using personal devices like employee-owned laptops or phones.
- The majority of employees (66 percent) believe they should be able to connect freely with any device – personal or company-issued – and access the applications and information that they need around the clock.
- The use of video is on the rise as a form of consumer and enterprise communication. Globally, more than two-thirds of IT professionals (68 percent) feel the importance of video communications to their company will increase in the future.
These additional Cisco Connected World Report findings clearly demonstrate that employees are willing to break the rules to achieve greater work-life balance, more flexibility in the workplace and improved mobility. As organizations struggle to accommodate these employee needs while keeping their networks safe and secure, it’s clear that IT departments and users must work together to create sensible policies that all users can adhere to.