Cisco study: Not so fast on Borderless Networks

Most employees feel they don't need to be in the office but many lack the discipline, responsibility

Now I can say to my bosses, 'See? I told you so!' In results of a survey released this week, Cisco found that 60% of workers around the world believe that they do not need to be in the office anymore to be productive.

Chalk one up for us telecommuters. Cisco also found that these proponents feel so strongly about telecommuting that they would choose lower paying jobs that allowed them to work remotely over higher paying ones that forced them to trudge into the office every day.

The study, called The Cisco Connected World Report, was commissioned by Cisco and conducted by InsightExpress, a third-party market research firm based in the United States. Cisco said it commissioned the study to determine challenges companies face as they address employee and business needs in an increasingly mobile and security risk-prone world. And, of course, what technologies Cisco can build and sell to meet the needs of these companies and their workers. 

Insight Express conducted two studies - one for employess, the other for IT staff. Each survey included 100 respondents from 13 countries, including the United States, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, India, China, Japan, and Australia. 

In addition to finding that three of every five respondents found it unnecessary to be in the office to be productive, 66% expect IT to allow them to use any device -- personal or company-issued -- to access corporate information anywhere at anytime, and they expect the types of devices to continue diversifying. In the future, employees expect their choice of network-connected endpoints to broaden to non-traditional work devices like televisions and navigation screens in cars, the Cisco study found. 

Once the IT respondents were done laughing, 45% of them said they are not prepared policy- and technology-wise to support such freedom -- the kind of freedom Cisco espouses in its Borderless Networks campaign. Fifty-seven percent felt security was the biggest obstacle to a more distributed workforce, followed by budget (34%) and staff expertise (17%). 

But employees felt IT and corporate policies were their enslavers. Given the opportunity to telecommute, 45% said they would work two to three extra hours a day while 25% would put in four or more hours. Yet with freedom comes responsibility, and that's where the telecommuters are their own worst enemy. 

About 19% of the employee respondents said they have noticed strangers looking at their computer screens in public, while another 19% admitted that they never think to check their surroundings. Seventeen percent admitted leaving devices unattended in public while an astounding 58% acknowledged allowing non-employees to use their corporate devices unsupervised. 

These people just aren't ready to be untethered. And IT knows why. 

Twenty-six percent of them said one-fourth of the devices issued to employees in the past 12 months had already been lost or stolen. The potential for data loss is apparently just too great to cut the cord. 

Guess we telecommuters better hold off on that victory celebration.

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