I got a chance to catch up with Chris Fleck, VP of Mobility Solutions at Citirx, at the CITE Conference and Expo in San Fransisco. I had been looking forward to getting to chat with him ever since reading his piece on the NirvanaPhone. Fleck and Citrix are helping to bring about the reality of what they call ‘workshifting’, the ability to work anywhere, anytime. Workshifting is the idea that companies can be more productive and responsive through providing employees the flexibility to work at the most convenient times and locations using the devices they want. This is a notion that resonates strongly with me. According to Fleck, “workshifting his is a much more inclusive idea and experience than what was once called telecommuting.” Fleck relayed that the employees who are able and expect to work anytime, anywhere “is rapidly changing from the exception of a few sales road-warriors and executives, to the new norm for entire organizations.” As Fleck stated, “the new standard is mobile and wireless.” Fleck noted that workshifting is important for organizations “to improve not only productivity but also help with employee retention, improve customer service, and make their job easier.” He went on to further expound the benefits for enterprises by saying “when employees operate in the model of work from anywhere, with the device they want, companies will get more out of them and allow the whole business cycle to move faster.”

Citrix is even tracking this change in the enterprise, called The Citrix Global Workshifting Index. According to the study, it was found that by the end of 2013 93% of organizations will have implemented workshifting policies; up from 37% of organization that currently offer workshifting for part, or all, of their workforce. This is a big change and Fleck thinks that Citrix has the enterprise products to play a central role. This was recently validated by Citrix’s Xen Receiver winning the Best Mobile App for Enterprise at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Fleck offered some excellent advice for IT departments being charged with responsibility of implementing this new norm. Though it is not simple to place an ROI on productivity he thinks that IT departments can approach the problem by looking at the lack of incremental costs. Fleck states that once the infrastructure is in place for a few “from an incremental cost perspective it isn’t going to cost me [IT departments] any more to support the scenario of everyone.” Companies will, regardless of scale, need to have the infrastructure and management capabilities for sales and executives, so it will have little cost impact to add additional employees. Fleck doesn’t see any end in sight for new hardware devices being introduced into the market and believes IT departments need to be ready for this continued trend in workshifting. He sees Citrix as well positioned to help bring about this new norm of workshifting for all. Stay tuned for more to come!