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Anatomy of a Flexible Worker

March 16, 2018

Anatomy of a Flexible Worker

We’re in a new world of work, where personal and professional lives are merged and we can work from anywhere – as long as we’ve got secure digital access. Win the race to protect your digital life from cyber-attacks – with the zero-compromise HP Elitebook x360 with Windows 10 Pro .

Location independence, variable arrival and departure times, compressed shifts and work weeks – these are all in big demand as a new generation of employees ditches nine-to-five routines for a more flexible, technology-facilitated work life. More than ever before, your flexible workforce is also a digitally-enabled workforce – relying heavily on secure and uninterrupted IT access.


It’s 2018, people, and flexibility is no longer all about mums with babies returning to the office. About 30 percent of dads now use flexible hours to care for kids. Flexibility has gone mainstream: one third of Australian employees regularly work from home, and forty percent of workers say flexibility is in the top three factors they consider when making career decisions. Thirty percent of multinationals surveyed by commercial real estate agents CBRE have a shared-desk workplace strategy in place.


In Australia, employees have a legal right to ask for flexible working arrangements. And flexible work is not going away: the workforce of the future doesn’t just like flexible work, they expect it. EY’s Future of Work report found that 75 per cent of millennials want flexible work; while Deloitte’s 2017 millennial survey shows that flexible working encourages loyalty when it’s built on a two-way exchange of trust.


What does flexible work look like today? A Fair Work Commission analysis of flexible work practices found that business is most likely to offer ‘banking’ hours, flexible leave and flexible start and finish times to all their staff. But the single most common flexi work style for some (not all) staff at any workplace is ‘teleworking’ – 58 per cent of companies have staff working remotely. Traditional work specifications of location and time become flexible.


Flexible location and/or time relies primarily on internet-enabled ways to collaborate and communicate with other staff, customers and suppliers. Today’s workforce is signing up to a dizzying array of cloud-based tools. Files are swapped in real-time using systems like Dropbox, Google Drive and One Drive. Group messaging and live commentary on shared documents, company-wide and beyond, happens in Slack, Jostle, Yammer, and even Facebook’s Workplace. You’ll see project collaboration and customer tracking in Asana, Basecamp, Jira and Salesforce. Live access to SME company accounts happens via Xero, Freshbooks, QuickBooks and MYOB, while large companies now open up remote access to staff using SAP or Oracle. And HR systems like Workday, PeopleSoft – and SAP or Oracle – give remote access to a company’s most sensitive personnel data.


It’s no surprise that increased flexibility means increased vulnerability. A 2017 Ponemon report found that 54 per cent of US business had a successful IT security attack compromising data and/or IT infrastructure – and most of these attacks were file-less. Flexible work is here, and it’s not going away. Companies are seeking ways to secure their data and operations without impacting on the new world of work.

The IT security at your workplace may be at an all-time high – but throw in today’s flexible workforce and your risk levels are rising fast. Check out the 2018 HP Australia Security Study which found that 63 percent of Australian SMEs have employees regularly working remotely and are increasingly concerned about risks like visual hacking. We’ll keep you up to date with ways to secure your remote workforce – without becoming inflexible.