Not for the first time (and certainly not the last), 21st century on-the-go working habits are leading to privacy concerns for business owners.
In New Zealand, an insightful survey by Regus has suggested that, in place of flexible workspace locations, many workers choose to make calls and check emails in cafes or in their cars. Bringing new meaning to ‘mobile working’, the survey throws light on privacy concerns given that many business owners and workers are happy to conduct sensitive tasks in public environments.
“Working at cafes is an appealing option for some workers, but this survey shows their limitations as workspaces, in particular around their lack of privacy,” said Regus New Zealand Area Director Pierre Ferrandon.
The research shows:
- In a cafe environment, one in five say they are happy to make calls.
- Two-thirds of workers have no problem sending emails in a cafe, with one in eight workers saying they would send a sensitive email from this type of environment.
- One in six would carry out their core duties from a cafe, with one in eight open to doing core work duties in the car.
- Only 5% of New Zealand respondents were comfortable making phone calls on the train, bus or ferry and only 4% carried out core work on their daily commute.
- Half of respondents are happy to carry out core work duties in a hotel, compared to 43% who would do so in a business lounge. Business lounges were preferred for sensitive emails but hotels were preferred for sensitive phone calls.
Commenting on this ‘work anywhere’ trend, Ferrandon raised concerns over privacy: “It is easy for people to look over your shoulder at sensitive documents or email.
“With a growing trend towards flexible working, employees and entrepreneurs are carrying out work tasks in many different places,” he added. “Businesses must have a dialogue with individual employees to find solutions that work for them. In the modern workspace it is results that matter, not where you achieve them.”
Although there are no revelations here, this research offers further insight into the current working practices of both office-based and location-independent business people in New Zealand. Despite the prevalence of flexible workspace, workers continue to choose alternative locations from which to conduct their business.
Is it a cost issue? Lack of awareness? Or simple convenience? Most likely it is a combination of all three factors, which serves to highlight that there is still work to be done in order to continue educating potential clients, and to reach out to them in such a way that draws them out of their cars and into a workspace environment that is ultimately more professional, and secure.