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IT Departments Struggle with Keeping Workers Happy and Empowered while Managing Risk

IT Departments Dealing with Significant Policy Violations, Disrespect, and the Need to Strike Balance Between Keeping Employees Happy and Empowered while Managing Risk

IT Departments Dealing with Significant Policy Violations, Disrespect, and the Need to Strike Balance Between Keeping Employees Happy and Empowered while Managing Risk

As employees strive to work in a more mobile fashion and utilize numerous devices, social media, and new forms of communication, a trend commonly referred to as “consumerization,” IT departments are struggling to Keep Employees Happy and Empowered while Managing Risk.IT Policy Trends

The second set of results from the Cisco Connected World Report were released this week and build on initial findings released in October, which examined the desire of workers to access corporate networks, applications, and information anywhere at any time with virtually any device. With this desire as a backdrop, the latest findings reveal how real-life consumer trends like social media, video, and increasing numbers of devices in the workplace are causing many employees around the world to question the relevance of corporate IT policies and break them with more regularity, showing a clear disconnect between IT policies and employee behavior.

ITPolicies

The results of the latest report come from the surveying 2,600 workers and IT professionals in 13 countries on various IT policy issues. The report revealed that while most companies have IT policies (82 percent), about one in four employees (24 percent) are unaware that they exist. Additionally, 23 percent reported that their companies do not have IT policies on acceptable device usage. When combined, almost half of the workers in the study (47 percent) either do not have an IT policy on device usage or do not know that one exists.

As technology trends alter the way businesses communicate and operate, more than two-thirds of workers surveyed believed their companies’ IT policies could be improved, and at least two of every five (41 percent) said they break them to meet their needs.

“The time spent between work and personal lives has blurred. Employees expect to access networks, applications, and information anywhere, at any time on any device. With the expansion of diverse devices in the workplace, along with the growth of video as a favored mode of communication, IT organizations are facing many policy and management demands on their networking infrastructure,” said Marie Hattar, vice president, Borderless Networks, Cisco.

Another interesting discovery was at employees violate these policies, about one quarter of those responding indicate their IT team is not respected, with a significantly larger proportion of End Users in Japan indicating their organization’s IT team is not respected.

Key Findings Employee Awareness and Adherence of IT Policies

• For those employees who have an IT policy, 35 percent say IT does not provide explanation or rationale for why it exists, which can result in greater apathy, misunderstanding, and selective compliance.

• Among workers aware of IT policy, about two of three (64 percent) feel it could use some improvement. These employees believe policies could be updated to reflect real-world needs and work styles, such as finding an acceptable medium between device usage, social media, mobility and work flexibility.

• Of those employees who admit to breaking IT policies, two of every five (41 percent) say it’s because they need restricted programs and applications to get their job done – they’re simply trying to be more productive and efficient.

• One of five (20 percent) employees worldwide said they break IT policy because they believe their company or IT team will not enforce it.

• This research points to an issue among many businesses worldwide: the need to re-evaluate and update IT policies to align with the growing reality of a workforce that is demanding more enablement to be connected anywhere, anytime, with any device and any information in their work and personal lives.

IT Policy Toward Employee Use of Social Media, Devices

• Social media use is restricted to varying degrees around the world and per company. Although half (51 percent) of the employees surveyed worldwide believe social media, while not work-related, contributes to work-life balance, two of five (41 percent) said they are restricted from using Facebook at their jobs, and one of three (35 percent) is restricted from using Twitter at work or with work devices.

• More than one in four (28 percent) workers is restricted from using Instant Messaging (IM) at work or with work devices, and one in five (21 percent) is restricted from doing personal email on work devices and during work hours.

• Two of every three employees (64 percent) believe their IT teams and companies should loosen up and 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. Policy or no policy, many employees will simply do it, raising the question about how effective a policy is and how IT can update, enforce, and ensure better compliance.

• 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 – particularly among those in Mexico (85 percent), China (85 percent), Brazil (82 percent), and Spain (82 percent).

• Not all employees who wish to use video communications in the workplace are able to do so today. About two in five employees (41 percent) said they cannot use video as a communications tool at work, with more than half of employees in the United States (53 percent), the United Kingdom (55 percent), Germany (55 percent) and France (60 percent) not having the capability of using video for workplace communications.

• Among workers who do not use video, one in three (34 percent) expect to use it to communicate at work within the next two years, and almost two of every four employees surveyed globally believe video will eventually become their primary mode of communication.

“The time spent between work and personal lives has blurred. Employees expect to access networks, applications, and information anywhere, at any time on any device. With the expansion of diverse devices in the workplace, along with the growth of video as a favored mode of communication, IT organizations are facing many policy and management demands on their networking infrastructure,” said Marie Hattar, vice president, Borderless Networks, Cisco.

The study was commissioned by Cisco and conducted by InsightExpress, a third-party market research firm based in the United States. The global study focuses on two surveys – one centering on employees, the other on IT professionals. Each survey included 100 respondents from each of the 13 countries, resulting in a survey pool of 2,600 people. The 13 countries include the United States, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, India, China, Japan and Australia.

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