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Six must-haves for a mobile work force Add to ...

This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab.

The future might not be as far off as we think.

Most of us will remember watching The Jetsons – the futuristic family with their flying cars, trips to the moon, domestic robots and George Jetson’s videoconferences with his boss, Cosmo G. Spacely. When the show first aired in 1962, videoconferencing was about as farfetched as a trip to the moon or a flying car. Today, participating in a videoconference is more real than ever.

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When you think about it, the Jetsons’ technology tools were all about increasing productivity and convenience. Their way of life was all about finding ways to do more with less and spend more time with the family, which for the most part, is still what we’re all after today – isn’t it? While the future that The Jetsons creators envisioned isn’t quite where we are at now, undoubtedly the world of work is changing. Current technologies enable mobile work spaces and flexibility like we’ve never seen before, providing us with access to information from anywhere on any device – the key to being more productive.

As the use of personal devices in the workplace begins to grow, whether driven by formal BYOD (bring your own device) programs or employee needs, the blending of work and personal lives has become a reality. Companies need to find a way to securely deliver access to company applications and data while retaining the ability to secure, control and remotely erase corporate data on employee-owned devices.

It is at this point, where personal activity intersects with company business, when the mobile workspace comes into play. A truly mobile workspace solution allows your work force to have a constant connection, regardless of the employees’ location or device.

A mobile workspace should incorporate the following six characteristics:

Access to applications

A mobile workspace must provide access to any application that an employee might need to be productive. As the number of applications that we use continues to grow, IT departments should be working to provide secure access to apps from various providers – not just Windows.

Access to corporate data

It is essential for employees to have access to any and all data they need to complete their work. Whether it’s a document, a spreadsheet, a presentation, or contact details of customers, a mobile workspace must deliver safe and secure access to all relevant and applicable corporate data. Employees should have the ability to access the data from anywhere and on the device of their choosing.

Access to collaboration tools

When employees are working outside their traditional office setting, whether at home, on the opposite side of the country or at an international office, the ability to continue to work and interact with colleagues and clients is essential. A mobile workspace should include tools that enable collaboration, video conferencing and file sharing, just as employees have when they’re in the office.

Intranet access

It is not always easy to access corporate resources, applications and data when we are outside the secure corporate server – but we can. The IT department must have the tools to give employees secure access to corporate content outside the corporate LAN. A mobile workspace should make this possible, providing seamless access to content behind the firewall device and then perform the appropriate identity checks.

Access anywhere on any device

On any given day, employees can use multiple devices, a traditional desktop at the office, a smartphone on the commute and a tablet from home. A mobile workspace should enable access, regardless of location or device and without compromising security.

Flexibility

IT services are no longer only provided by the local data centre or through the LAN. These services must be able to run on any cloud (private, public or hybrid) and delivered over any network (LAN, WAN, WiFi, 3G/4G, etc.). A mobile workspace should be able to provide necessary services delivered appropriately, with a seamless user experience.

Enterprise mobility is bringing greater flexibility, access to information and productivity to the way we work. The key to leveraging these technologies starts with making the decision. New mobile technologies have shown that the Jetsons’ futuristic way of life may not be as far off as we thought.

Michael Murphy is the vice-president and country manager of Citrix Canada (@citrixpr_canada), a global company that enables mobile work, allowing people to work and collaborate from anywhere.

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