Whether you run your own business, or simply work for one, the chances are you will be very familiar with the advantages - and challenges - of flexible working. In the UK, there are already over 12 million people who either work part-time or in flexible full-time roles, and this trend is only going to increase.
Earlier this year, laws in the UK were changed, giving employees the right to request flexible working, as long as they have been with their employer for at least six months. Businesses are therefore increasingly under pressure to take action and make sure they have the technology and processes in place to meet these employee demands.
In response to this, virtualised workspaces are gaining a strong foothold in the future of working life. A virtualised desktop is an individual users' interface becoming accessible in a virtualised setting, which, in essence, means that employees can work remotely, from anywhere, as effectively as if they were in the office. A virtualised workspace empowers employees with a choice; a choice to strike a better work-life balance as they can work from anywhere, anytime, with any device. IDC are predicting that 1.3 billion people will work remotely using mobile technology in 2015, equivalent to 37.2 percent of the entire global workforce, and it's easy to see why.
As employees are no longer constricted by their location, they have the ability to become more agile and flexible in their work hours. Connecting to the corporate world remotely is becoming as seamless as walking into an office. With our time more valuable to us than ever, the ability to log-in and work - easily and securely - on the train, in a coffee shop, or wherever you might be, is ever more desirable.
Moving outside of the office environment can also have a positive effect on creativity as employees often lack inspiration when stuck in a corporate environment. For example, how often do you have your most innovative idea when you've got your head stuck in a spreadsheet or when the phone doesn't stop ringing? Your inspiration is more likely to flourish when your mind is at ease, when you're under less pressure, have fewer distractions, and in an environment where you have time to think - something that remote working encourages.
However, this added flexibility will inevitably put greater strain on a business's core IT infrastructure, and companies will need to make sure they have the right network in place in deliver this level of user flexibility and freedom. As existing networks are already struggling to keep pace with growing demand and data volume, how should companies go about moving towards a virtualised workspace?
The answer is The New IP. In simple terms, The New IP refers to a state-of-the-art, virtualised IP network. This new infrastructure provides a more dynamic, automated capability based on leveraging software and virtualisation. It allows customers to exploit best-of-breed technologies, based on open architectures and open ecosystems, and not be locked into any one vendor.
The New IP will be the enabler for a wealth of new technologies - from virtual workspaces to the Internet of Things - to be transformed into a truly useful tool. Businesses who embrace The New IP will be able to offer their employees an agile, resilient and scalable network, one capable of delivering data and applications to any device, anywhere at any time.
It is clear that our day-to-day lives are becoming ever more reliant on this 24/7 connectivity and whether we are aware of it or not, we rely on the networks connecting these devices together. There is no doubt that, when harnessed correctly, these technologies will help foster corporate innovation; however, flawless delivery off these applications can only be achieved providing the underlying networks are in place to support them.